Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo felt his decision to play John Terry was vindicated after the Blues captain came through the expected hostile reception at Arsenal to lead the team to a 2-1 victory.
Former England skipper Terry was earlier this week found guilty of using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand by a Football Association hearing. He was on the field as Fernando Torres fired Chelsea ahead and Juan Mata's free-kick squirmed in to secure three points for the European champions after Gervinho had equalised.
Di Matteo said: "It was the right side from my choice to pick him today. John showed his leadership qualities and what a good defender he is for the team."
Despite the heckles of the home support, Terry was as usual cheered on throughout by the Chelsea fans.
At the final whistle, Terry made a point of heading over to the travelling support, and handed his boots to some young fans.
Di Matteo said: "There is always a lot of talk about the negative side of John, but he does a lot of good, positive work as well."
Both Chelsea goals could easily have been prevented with some more composed defending, while Arsenal also failed to make the most of their chances, Petr Cech making some smart saves while substitute Olivier Giroud shot into the side netting when clean through in stoppage time.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lamented: "We played against a good team but we gave the game away. They had three shots on target and scored two goals, from soft set-pieces.
"Defensively we were just not at the level you have to be in a game like that, which is where we were punished today.
"For the rest, we have shown quality and spirit, but we have to show more personality and authority on the goals we conceded."
- Roberto Di Matteo
- John Terry