LONDON: Arsenal missed out on the chance to regain top spot in the Premier League after losing 1-0 at home to London rivals Chelsea on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Meanwhile Swansea gave new coach Francesco Guidolin victory in his first game in charge with a 2-1 win away to Everton as the Welsh club moved four points clear of the relegation zone.
At the Emirates, Arsenal were reduced to 10 men in the 18th minute when Per Mertesacker was sent off for a challenge on Chelsea striker Diego Costa, with referee Mark Clattenburg ruling the Gunners defender was the last man.
Four minutes later, Costa gave Chelsea the lead when he got on the end of a Branislav Ivanovic cross at the near post.
Arsenal’s defeat left them in third spot, three points behind shock leaders Leicester City, while Chelsea moved up into 13th place.
For all their contrasting fortunes this season, Chelsea are now unbeaten in nine league games against Arsenal and Blues skipper John Terry told Sky Sports: “It is a good three points and gets us up the league. We’ve drawn too may of late so we needed to pick up three points
“Mentally we were sound and on top. As soon as they had the man sent off they sat back so we pressed up higher and won the ball back. We are delighted with the win.”
As for where Chelsea might finish this season, central defender Terry added: “Anything is doable. Everybody is beating everybody else. It is a tough league and if we put a run together we have a good chance [of fourth]. We will fight until there are no points to play for.”
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, who joined the Gunners from Chelsea in pre-season, said the home side had been unlucky.
“For 60 minutes, we were the better team and showed great character, we just needed a bit of luck to find the net.”
Turning to the sending-off, Cech added: “The referee made the decision to give the red card and he had a clear view, if there was contact then it was the correct decision because Per Mertesacker was the last man.”
A hard-fought victory at Goodison Park saw Italian boss Guidlolin off to a winning start with the Swans.
Swansea went ahead though Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 17th-minute penalty but Everton were level nine minutes later when Gareth Barry’s near-post flick was turned into his own net by the Swans’ Jack Cork.
But Swansea regained the lead in the 34th minute. Left-back Neil Taylor burst clear and released Andre Ayew, whose shot deflected in off the sliding John Stones.
Guidolin in dreamland
This was a notable win for Swansea as it meant they had recorded back-to-back league successes for the first time this season following last week’s 1-0 defeat of Watford. It was also their first league victory over Everton.
“Six points in two matches is very important for us because the table was not good,” said Guidolin. “I hope to have the possibility to go up in the table.
“In this moment I am very happy. This is the first match in the Premier League for me.”
Guidolin added: “I dreamt of working in the Premier League but I didn’t dream of winning the first match.”
Everton manager Roberto Martinez had to make two substitutions in the first half, with the injured pair of Muhamed Besic and Kevin Mirallas now set to miss Wednesday’s League Cup semifinals second leg against Manchester City.
“We were very slow in our performance—pedestrian—but two aspects affected our momentum which was the two injuries,” said Martinez.
“We created enough chances to win the game. The fearful aspect of our performance was a real shame,” added former Swansea manager Martinez, whose Everton side now have the worst home defensive record in the Premier League.