Chelsea held off London rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge to claim their first home win of 2013 at the fourth attempt.
Juan Mata drove in a shot to put the Blues in front, although the visitors could justifiably claim there had been a foul against them in the build-up.
Keeper Wojciech Szczesny brought down Ramires and Frank Lampard scored from the spot for Chelsea's second.
Forward Theo Walcott's clinical sidefoot finish gave the Gunners hope but the hosts held on for the win.
Chelsea had let a two-goal lead slip on Wednesday as they drew against Southampton and, when Demba Ba missed an excellent chance for them late on, it only added to their worries of a repeat here.
They also had to endure five minutes of added time in which centre-back Gary Cahill produced a vital interception and Gunners forward Olivier Giroud headed just over.
It was only a second top-flight win in six at Stamford Bridge under interim Blues manager Rafael Benitez, who had the rare experience of Chelsea fans not booing him at the final whistle.
"Loud Chelsea cheers greeted the final whistle. They were made to work hard for the win. Chelsea were quite brilliant in the first half but they knew Arsenal would come back at them and the Gunners did. But it was all smiles for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in the end."
Arsenal had been overwhelmed in the first half and when manager Arsene Wenger sent them out early for the second half, it was easy to imagine what the Frenchman's half-time mood had been.
The Gunners had enjoyed the first real chance of the game but they were soon overrun at a snowy Stamford Bridge.
Walcott, fresh from signing a new contract, slipped a pass to Giroud, whose left-foot strike went narrowly wide.
The miss was immediately punished. Mata beautifully took down a diagonal Cesar Azpilicueta pass and shot high into the net past keeper Szczesny. On the touchline, Wenger was enraged his side had not been awarded a free-kick for a Ramires challenge on Francis Coquelin in the build-up.
The visitors almost responded with Santi Cazorla having a 25-yard shot palmed wide by keeper Petr Cech before Chelsea smothered Arsenal with the pace, power and panache of their play.
Eden Hazard mesmerised the visiting defence with a jinking run and saw his angled shot saved before Chelsea extended their lead.
Ramires was found unmarked on the right side of Arsenal's defence and, as Szczesny came out to make a spread-eagled save, the Chelsea midfielder went over the keeper's leg to earn a penalty.
A look at the stats
- Chelsea have won more penalties (8) than any other team in this season's Premier League.
- Juan Mata has now scored or assisted 16 Premier League goals this season, only Robin van Persie (23) and Luis Suarez (19) have more.
Stats provided by Opta
Szczesny escaped a red card but Lampard scored from the spot for his 195th Chelsea goal, which puts him just seven behind the club's record goalscorer Bobby Tambling.
The only downside to Chelsea's performance was the sight of striker Fernando Torres continuing to toil in front of goal, slicing one shot horribly wide just before the break.
After the interval, the Gunners began to look a threat at last. Centre-back Per Mertesacker and striker Walcott had efforts on goal, both shooting straight at Cech, while Giroud mistimed a header before the visitors pulled a goal back.
Cazorla pierced Chelsea's defence with a pass into the run of Walcott, who controlled the ball and eased a shot from just inside the area past Cech for his ninth league goal of the season.
The Blues were playing more like the away team as they threatened on the counter-attack and Torres broke clear only for a heavy touch to allow Szczesny to save.
Ba was also played through and, after rounding the Arsenal keeper on the edge of area, he seemed bound to score only for Thomas Vermaelen to block his shot.
The Senegal striker must have been relieved his miss was not punished by the visitors, and he had Cahill to thank for blocking a pass that would have put Walcott in late on.
But Giroud's missed header proved Arsenal's last chance as they fell to their second away defeat of the season and seven points off a top four spot.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"We gave them too much room in which to play in the first half. We had the first chance, a fantastic chance, but missed it.
"I thought Francis Coquelin was injured for the first [Chelsea goal], and I'm not convinced at all that it was a penalty on the second one.
"We made some changes at half-time and came out with a different attitude with much more initiative. We had Chelsea on the back foot but could not get it back to 2-2. We didn't make enough of our corners and free-kicks."
- 01 Cech
- 02 Ivanovic
- 03 Cole Booked
- 24 Cahill
- 28 Azpilicueta
- 07 Ramires
- 08 Lampard
- 10 Mata Booked
- 11 Oscar (Bertrand - 72' )
- 17 Hazard (Marin - 88' )
- 09 Torres (Ba - 80' )
- 22 Turnbull
- 19 Ferreira
- 26 Terry
- 34 Bertrand
- 21 Marin
- 57 Ake
- 29 Ba
- 01 Szczesny Booked
- 03 Sagna
- 04 Mertesacker
- 05 Vermaelen
- 28 Gibbs
- 02 Diaby (Arshavin - 75' )
- 10 Wilshere
- 14 Walcott
- 19 Cazorla
- 22 Coquelin (Ramsey - 59' )
- 12 Giroud
- 24 Mannone
- 06 Koscielny
- 11 Santos
- 25 Jenkinson
- 16 Ramsey
- 23 Arshavin
- 26 Frimpong
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +5:10
Cesar Azpilicueta fouled by Olivier Giroud, the ref awards a free kick. Cesar Azpilicueta restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +4:44
Header from deep inside the penalty area by Olivier Giroud goes harmlessly over the crossbar.90:00 +3:46
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Jack Wilshere from the right by-line, Marko Marin makes a clearance.90:00 +3:20
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Santi Cazorla, save by Petr Cech.90:00 +2:16
Inswinging corner taken by Jack Wilshere from the right by-line, clearance made by Nascimento Ramires. Corner from the right by-line taken by Jack Wilshere, save made by Petr Cech.89:08
Ryan Bertrand takes a shot. Blocked by Bacary Sagna. Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.88:30
Foul by Aaron Ramsey on Demba Ba, free kick awarded. Juan Mata restarts play with the free kick.86:24 Substitution
Substitution Marko Marin is brought on as a substitute for Eden Hazard.86:24
Thomas Vermaelen produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.86:24 Booking
Booking Ashley Cole booked.86:17
Unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna by Ashley Cole results in a free kick.85:20
Ashley Cole concedes a free kick for a foul on Santi Cazorla. Jack Wilshere crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Ashley Cole.82:45
Demba Ba takes a shot. Thomas Vermaelen gets a block in.82:23
Theo Walcott takes a shot. Blocked by Ashley Cole.80:00 Substitution
Substitution Fernando Torres leaves the field to be replaced by Demba Ba.76:54
Juan Mata is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.75:48
Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.74:08
Kieran Gibbs takes the free kick.74:08 Substitution
Substitution Andrey Arshavin replaces Vassiriki Diaby.
Unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey by Nascimento Ramires results in a free kick.72:42
Jack Wilshere concedes a free kick for a foul on Cesar Azpilicueta. Petr Cech takes the direct free kick.71:07
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata from the right by-line, Olivier Giroud manages to make a clearance. Nascimento Ramires takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny. Juan Mata is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.71:07 Substitution
Substitution Ryan Bertrand is brought on as a substitute for Emboaba Oscar.65:46
Santi Cazorla fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, blocked by Frank Lampard. Jack Wilshere takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Frank Lampard.65:46 Booking
Booking Juan Mata is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.65:19
Ashley Cole concedes a free kick for a foul on Theo Walcott.63:33
Fernando Torres gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey. Wojciech Szczesny takes the direct free kick.62:50
Free kick awarded for a foul by Bacary Sagna on Frank Lampard. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.61:18
Eden Hazard fouled by Kieran Gibbs, the ref awards a free kick. Juan Mata takes the free kick.60:35
Theo Walcott has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.58:36 Substitution
Substitution Aaron Ramsey joins the action as a substitute, replacing Francis Coquelin.57:27
Assist on the goal came from Santi Cazorla.57:27 Goal scored
Goal! - Theo Walcott - Chelsea 2 - 1 Arsenal A goal is scored by Theo Walcott from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal.56:56
Frank Lampard takes a shot. Kieran Gibbs gets a block in.56:32
Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.54:59
The official flags Olivier Giroud offside. Petr Cech takes the free kick.54:33
Free kick awarded for a foul by Eden Hazard on Santi Cazorla. Per Mertesacker restarts play with the free kick.50:25
Olivier Giroud is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Gary Cahill.48:01
Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.46:13
Ashley Cole concedes a free kick for a foul on Theo Walcott. Free kick taken by Jack Wilshere. Per Mertesacker takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.45:54
Nascimento Ramires challenges Francis Coquelin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jack Wilshere takes the free kick.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +1:09 Half time
Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.45:00 +0:32
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Petr Cech.43:36
Jack Wilshere challenges Nascimento Ramires unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Juan Mata. Shot by Fernando Torres from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.41:42
Corner taken by Juan Mata played to the near post, clearance made by Olivier Giroud.40:24
Theo Walcott is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Petr Cech takes the free kick.39:47
Fernando Torres concedes a free kick for a foul on Francis Coquelin. Thomas Vermaelen takes the direct free kick.37:42
Corner taken left-footed by Jack Wilshere, clearance by Gary Cahill.37:26
Free kick awarded for a foul by Emboaba Oscar on Bacary Sagna. Jack Wilshere takes the free kick.35:26
Nascimento Ramires produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.33:49
Theo Walcott is caught offside. Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.32:51
The referee blows for offside. Wojciech Szczesny takes the indirect free kick.29:34
Foul by Jack Wilshere on Emboaba Oscar, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Emboaba Oscar.22:44
Francis Coquelin gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Eden Hazard. Free kick crossed by Juan Mata.21:10
Corner taken right-footed by Theo Walcott, save by Petr Cech.20:29
Eden Hazard takes a shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.18:09
Free kick awarded for a foul by Bacary Sagna on Emboaba Oscar. Emboaba Oscar takes the free kick.16:57
Corner taken right-footed by Theo Walcott from the left by-line, save by Petr Cech.15:48
Nascimento Ramires provided the assist for the goal.15:48 Goal scored
Goal! - Frank Lampard - Chelsea 2 - 0 Arsenal Placed penalty scored by Frank Lampard. Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal.15:08 Booking
Booking Booking for Wojciech Szczesny.15:00
Unfair challenge on Nascimento Ramires by Wojciech Szczesny results in a Penalty.13:59
Emboaba Oscar takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.10:06
Eden Hazard takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save. Inswinging corner taken by Juan Mata from the right by-line, clearance by Per Mertesacker. Frank Lampard is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Wojciech Szczesny takes the indirect free kick.8:29
Santi Cazorla takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save. Inswinging corner taken by Theo Walcott, save by Petr Cech.7:23
The referee blows for offside. Jack Wilshere takes the free kick.5:24
Assist on the goal came from Cesar Azpilicueta.5:24 Goal scored
Goal! - Juan Mata - Chelsea 1 - 0 Arsenal A goal is scored by Juan Mata from inside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal.4:38
Effort on goal by Olivier Giroud from inside the box misses to the right of the target.1:59
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Fernando Torres by Per Mertesacker. Frank Lampard delivers the ball, Header from deep inside the penalty area by Branislav Ivanovic goes harmlessly over the crossbar.0:53
Frank Lampard has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the target.0:00
The referee gets the game underway.
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