Chelsea fans can take a huge sigh of relief as misfiring Blues found some form, and a first half strike by Diego Costa won all three points against high-flying Arsenal at the Emirates.
But the west Londoners had a huge stroke of luck on 18 minutes when Costa zipped past Per Mertesacker, who, as last man appeared to clip the striker and was promptly sent off.
This changed the dynamic of the game and Chelsea took full advantage to extend their unbeaten run under Guus Hiddink to seven games.
It was an uncertain start by Arsenal with Oscar and Cesc Fabregas cutting the Gooners apart but ex-Blue Petr Cech was equal to the task.
Oscar was diets into Mark Clattenberg book for a needless challenge on Joel Campbell on 11 minutes.
Cech was quick to thwart Willian on 15 minutes when he snaffled a toe-poke effort by the Brazilian as the Blues took control of possession.
Olivier Giroud was reduced to shooting from long-range two minutes later as a quick counter-attack was nullified by Chelsea's deep-lying back four.
But on 18 minutes, Per Mertesacker was red-carded when he hauled down Diego Costa as the striker was put clear by Willian.
The defender was the last man as he was arrowing in on goal.
This forced the introduction of Gabriel by Arsene Wenger with the unlucky Giroud being sacrificed much to his and the Arsenal fans' surprise.
It took the Blues two minutes to take advantage with Costa getting his foot ahead of Gabriel to steer the ball past Cech from six-yards out.
It was the Brazil-born Spain striker's sixth goal in six games.
A smart run by Fabregas almost reaped dividends but his shot, on 32 minutes and inside the Arsenal was blocked by Laurent Koscielny.
Four minutes before the break Costa cruised through the Arsenal defence. Thankfully for The home side, Cech was on hand to bet the ball around the list for. Corner.
Seconds later and an Branislav Ivanovic header was cleared off the line by Natcho Monreal as the Blues ended the perfect first 45 minutes of the season.
Flamini had the last touch, but it was a volley that he hooked over Thibaut Courtois,
There were no changes at half time from either side.
The Blues were denied a stonewall penalty 10 minutes after the restart when Fabgrgas raced into the Arsenal penalty area. Koscielny. Bundled over the midfielder but Clatternberg waved play on instead.
Nemanja Matic was yellow-carded for doing to substitute Alexis Sanches that Koscielny did to Fabregas but Clatternberg saw it differently.
Goal s order Costa's match ended on 68 minutes when he limped off with what looked like a shin injury, Loic Remy replaced him.
Eden Hazard entered the fray at the expense of Oscar on 77 minutes.
Courtois showed his lack of confidence when, with five minutes on the clock, he fumbled a regulation cross provoking panic in the Chelsea rearguard. But Arsenal could not capitalise on the lose ball in the six-yard box.
Over elaboration was the home side's downfall after another Arsenal attack cut the Blues' defence apart as the minutes ticked over. But wayward finishing let the Gooners down.
Chelsea move up just one place to 13th in the Premier League as a result of the win, but more importantly they are seven point off third from bottom Newcastle United.
Teams: It's Courtois, Ivanovic, Zuma, Terry, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Matic, Aillian, Fabregas, Oscar and Costa.
subs, Begovic, Baba, Hazard, Traore, Remy, Cahill, Loftus-Cheek.
Arsenal, Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Campbell, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
subs, Gibbs, Gabriel, Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez, Chambers, Elneny