Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign after goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata secured a 2-1 win away to Arsenal on Saturday that took attention away from John Terry.
The Chelsea captain led the league leaders in his first appearance after being found guilty of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand by the Football Association.
Centre-half Terry was free to play because the four-game ban imposed as punishment for the offence is suspended pending the outcome of any appeal against the decision.
And Terry did not appear to be distracted as Roberto di Matteo's side held on at the Emirates in the face of late Arsenal pressure to come out on top in this clash of the London rivals.
Torres put the visiting side ahead in the 20th minute but Arsenal found their way back into the game when Gervinho levelled shortly before half time.
But Mata struck in the 53rd minute when his free kick was helped in by scrambling Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny.
Defeat ended Arsenal's unbeaten start to the season and manager Arsene Wenger was left to reflect on his side's poor defensive display and failure to provide a cutting edge in attack in a match he maintained beforehand would be a test of his team's title credentials.
Di Matteo, however, saw his side produce a resilient performance that suggests the European champions will be tough to shift from the summit of English football.
Wenger opted to restore fit-again Thomas Vermaelen, recalling his captain in place of Per Mertesacker who had impressed during last week's 1-1 draw at Premier League champions Manchester City.
But the decision to drop the tall German looked questionable when Torres volleyed the visitors ahead after 20 minutes.
The opportunity arose when Vermaelen fouled Eden Hazard, allowing Mata to deliver a floated free kick into the Arsenal area.
Arsenal should have dealt with the danger but the home defence went missing as the ball was allowed to reach Torres, who held off a weak challenge from Koscielny to finish past Vito Mannone from close range.
The Gunners' back four were again exposed three minutes later immediately after the hosts appealed for a penalty following John Mikel Obi's challenge on Santi Cazorla.
Chelsea broke quickly with Torres finding himself with a clear run on Mannone's goal as he cut in from the left.
The Spain striker opted against taking the shot early, attempting instead to round the keeper only to take an air-shot and tumble over as Koscielny raced back to challenge.
Torres was convinced he had been fouled but television replays confirmed referee Martin Atkinson had made the right decision.
Arsenal's Abou Diaby tested Chelsea keeper Petr Cech but that was one of the France midfielder's few contributions before he limped out of the game after just 17 minutes to be replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The switch initially unsettled Arsenal and coincided with Chelsea taking charge of the game.
But the young England winger played a significant part in helping Arsenal claw their way back into the game immediately before the break.
Mikel Arteta's pass released Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and the teenager's excellent low cross flew through the legs of Cole to Gervinho, who took one touch before beating Cech with a powerful shot on the turn.
Chelsea responded immediately with Oscar and Torres both coming close in first half added time before they scored again early in the second half.
Arsenal were again guilty of defensive sloppiness when Vermaelen's foul on Torres presented Mata with another free-kick.
The dipping goal-bound, dipping shot would have caused Mannone problems in any event but Koscielny's touch didn't help.
Arsenal battled hard. Lukas Podolski went close with a header and Cazorla again shot wide, but Chelsea's victory was deserved.