Chelsea win in the snow despite Torres misses

It’s difficult to know who was more dispirited by Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Arsenal, the under-pressure Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger or Chelsea’s misfiring striker Fernando Torres.

Torres was modelling a new haircut for the match but the coiffure had not improved his form. He missed several opportunities to score and the fans had long lost patience with him when Rafael Benitez eventually took pity and sent on Demba Ba to replace him.

Chelsea secured the points early in the first half with an excellent finish from Juan Mata and a Frank Lampard penalty. Arsenal were dire in the first half but improved considerably in the second. Theo Walcott started earning his new weekly wage of £100,000 with a goal, but Chelsea resisted the Arsenal pressure to obtain the win and stay in touch with the two Manchester clubs at the top of the Premier League.

Benitez was predictably loyal to Torres. After managing Torres at Liverpool when the Spanish striker was at his peak, Benitez refuses to accept that he cannot return to that kind of form.

Benitez also welcomed a respite from the fans’ hostility. He had faced boos when Chelsea let slip a lead against Southampton in their previous match. "We have been doing well, creating chances in all our games," he said. "In the games we didn't win we deserved to win. It was just a matter of time until we had a performance like this."

Wenger, once more under pressure after Arsenal’s lacklustre season, preferred to dwell on the second-half recovery, and to question the officials about Chelsea’s goals. "I thought Francis Coquelin was injured for the first, and I'm not convinced at all that it was a penalty on the second goal," Wenger told Sky Sports. "We made some changes at halftime 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."

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