Arsenal had two players sent off when they lost an ill-tempered derby 2-0 at Chelsea on Saturday as the champions pulled out of their early-season slump with their first Premier League win for almost a month.
Chelsea’s 20-year-old French defender Kurt Zouma headed the first after 53 minutes of a fractious game before an Eden Hazard shot deflected off Calum Chambers in stoppage time to make it 2-0.
Arsenal defender Gabriel was red carded for kicking out at Diego Costa just before halftime and Santi Cazorla was dismissed with a second booking for sliding in on former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas after 79 minutes.
Gabriel’s dismissal came in the aftermath of a bust-up between Costa and Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny in the visitors’ penalty area a minute earlier when Costa appeared to raise his arms and strike the Arsenal defender.
Cazorla was shown the red card after a rash, sliding challenge on his Spain team mate Fabregas, whose fine free kick eight minutes into the second half was headed in by Zouma.
It was Zouma’s first Premier League goal and, perhaps more significantly, he was in the team in place of skipper John Terry, who was not selected for a league match when he was fit for the first time by manager Jose Mourinho.
Arsenal, who beat Mourinho’s side 1-0 in the Community Shield at the beginning of August, made few clear cut chances of their own and have not beaten Chelsea in their last eight league matches and not scored against them in their last five.
The result lifted Chelsea from 17th into mid-table while Arsenal, who have had three players sent off this week following Olivier Giroud’s dismissal against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday, stayed fourth, at least until Saturday’s later matches.