Juan Mata says Chelsea win over Arsenal could be key

Juan Mata opened the scoring for Chelsea. Photo: PA

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata underlined the importance of a much-needed home win for the Blues against London rivals Arsenal.

Chelsea have laboured at Stamford Bridge of late but saw off the Gunners 2-1 thanks to Mata's early goal and Frank Lampard's penalty.

It meant an afternoon off from the cat-calls from the stands that have become commonplace since Rafael Benitez's appointment as interim manager and Mata told Sky Sports: "It was very important for our supporters after four or five without winning at Stamford Bridge.

"Against our rivals like Arsenal, one of the best in the Premier League, it was a very good win."

Mata's goal set the Blues on their way and he added: "It was important to score in the first minutes and we played more relaxed. In the first half we played really well and created a lot of chances. In the second half... Arsenal have some top players.

"We knew they would try and score and they got a beautiful goal through Theo Walcott. They always play to score and win.

"Today's game was important for us in different ways. We first kept going and reduced the gap to Manchester United and City. Then we played well in front of our supporters, who were very nervous."

Mata's goal came after what looked like a foul by Ramires on Francis Coquelin which was not given by referee Martin Atkinson, and the Brazil international admitted he should have been penalised.

"It was a foul," he said. "But more important for us is that we won."