Both sides took a few minutes to rev their engine as the match continuously built in rivalry and excitement. Arsenal's speed created a few early difficulties for the questioned Chelsea defence, however Chelsea's speedy counter-attack was always a threat. With two former players on the pitch, it had to be former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas to spark Chelsea into life with sharp passing. Pedro's return to the lineup gave plenty of attacking support as Hazard and Diego Costa's interplay threatened in bursts.
Partway through the first half, the most integral cog in Arsenal's midfield, Francis Coquelin, looked like it was about to break down. The Frenchman played on despite not looking completely healthy, maybe also because the Arsenal bench didn't have a proper replacement to hold the midfield. While this might have seemed unfortunate for Wenger's side, it was in the final minutes of the half that events swung definitively against Arsenal.
|Gabriel's not-so sneaky kick against Diego Costa|
Arsene Wenger started the second half by replacing the partly injured Coquelin with Callum Chambers, however, Diego Costa's dark magic already left its mark, and Arsenal's ten men were unable to stop Kurt Zouma from heading in the opener from Fabregas's free kick. As the second half continued, Diego Costa was continuously in the middle of events as he played what could be considered one of the best matches of his season. Arsenal's ten men had difficulty managing Chelsea's advances, however were still able to occasionally create a dangerous opportunity with the darting Alexis Sanchez.
Struggling to compete in the match, the Gunners lost another man when Santi Cazorla's tackle on Fabregas was just a fraction too late (and a bit too forceful as well), earning him a second yellow with ten minutes remaining. While it seemed like destiny that Diego Costa would score the sealing goal, the opportunity came to Eden Hazard. The Belgian's deflected shot gave Cech no chance, the former Chelsea keeper defeated by his former team in his former stadium.