The fact Chelsea put six goals past London and title rivals Arsenal most caught the eye, but that was coupled with a clean sheet, the 13th in 20 games stretching back to the previous time we played the Gunners just before Christmas.

Two players at the heart of the defence enjoying such a solid season, John Terry and Gary Cahill, spoke after this weekend’s big win, and said the team knew how they had to play the game, and that there was no margin for error.

‘Arsenal are great in possession so ideally you do not let them feel comfortable on the ball because they can hurt you,’ said Terry.

‘Pete made a great save early on so credit to him, but the whole mind set throughout the team all week has been to get at them, get in their faces and we did that from the word go.’

Cahill emphasised it was the respect the Chelsea players have for Arsenal’s abilities that helped ensure they were at the top of their game from the word go.

Chelsea v Arsenal

‘Of course we thought it would be really tight with the way Arsenal have been playing this season,’ he said.

‘We started the game really well as we did against Galatasaray and that took us on in the game. Obviously the sending off killed Arsenal, but our attitude and the way we addressed the game, the way we took control even when it was 11 v 11, was fantastic.

‘We know it would have been closer if it had stayed 11 v 11, Arsenal are a fantastic side and they can cause you some problems, but to play 10 against 11 Chelsea players is obviously tough.

‘The importance of this game was massive. We felt before it that if Arsenal beat us how difficult it would be for us, so we really felt that pressure going out and that is why there was that performance at the start, because of the importance of the win.’

‘The manager was stressing for us to be at the races early on,’ confirmed Terry.

‘Samuel got a great early goal and from then on and with the sending off we were in control. But we said at half-time to keep pushing because the goal difference could make a big difference at the end, and that is what we did.’

The win put the Blues seven points ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal with one more game played, but with Liverpool and Manchester City both winning well at the weekend, it remains tight at the top.

‘If City win all their games they go top and they are more than capable of doing that,’ said Cahill, ‘but we need to stay in and around and this was a huge result for us. We could not afford to lose and to get the win, especially the way we did, was pleasing.’

‘We needed that win,’ agreed Terry. ‘We responded from dropping points at Villa Park last week which was disappointing and kind of made it easy for City. They are in control, they are in the driving seat but all we can do is keep winning our games and keep the pressure on.’

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