Chelsea smashed Arsenal for six as the Blues’ rout kept the Blues firmly on the title march, whilst putting a killer blow in their London counterparts’.
In what was Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th match in charge of the Gunners, it could not have gotten off to a worse start, with Eto’o and Schurrle scoring inside seven minutes. Two more followed in the half thanks to Hazard and Oscar, whilst the salt was rubbed into the wound with second-half goals by Oscar again and substitute Salah.
But for the immensely frenetic start, the morning’s papers will focus on the lead up to Hazard’s goal from the penalty spot. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deliberately handled Hazard’s shot, which was travelling wide, but Andre Marriner deemed the intent enough to award the penalty and red card. However, after delay and consultation, the West Midlands’ official opted to Kieran Gibbs in an unprecedented case of mistaken identity in such a high-profile match. In truth, however, the match had already been won.
The pre-match talk was highly celebratory, and borderline nostalgic, on Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal. If there was ever any motivation needed for the players, it would be to give your manager a win on his 1,000th match, and if there was any ever motivation for the manager, it would be to end Mourinho’s unbeaten home run. Both were conspicuous by its absence, however, as Arsenal’s defensive horrors defied logic.
All the match preparation went out of the window within seven minutes. Eto’o was played in after just five minutes, and after cutting back onto his left foot, slotted home past Szczesny.
It was a case of deja vu moments later, as Andre Schurrle found himself running in on goal, and though Eto’o was in a good position ahead of the German, Schurrle opted to go for goal himself. Szczesny was motionless. The Arsenal contingent was in a state of shock.
The game was barely 17 minutes old when it was already over as a contest. Hazard’s shot resulted in the red card fiasco by Marriner, but it did not faze Hazard, who recorded Chelsea’s third goal.
It was then a matter of just how many. Mourinho is known to shut up shop but there was no stopping him with three goals already scored and more waiting.
The fourth came just before the interval, after a period of relative stability for Arsenal’s back-line. But there was no stopping Oscar’s delicate chip over Szczesny, after being found by Torres.
It was a canter, thereafter. Oscar’s weak effort somehow managed to pass Szczesny’s flapping hand for five, before Salah, having only been on the pitch for four minutes, was found with a wonderfully-timed ball by Matic. The Egyptian slotted home calmly, as Jose Mourinho shared much of the 21-year-old’s joy on the touchline.
Man of the Match
ANDRE SCHURRLE: Tireless running, creativity and, though an infrequent starter, it was the German who provided Eto’o for the game’s opener, before scoring the second himself. Those were the two goals that, so quickly into the match, sucked the life out of Arsenal and handed the game to Chelsea. His all-round play and threat to Arsenal’s back-line was excellent. 9/10
Mourinho was delighted with his side’s fast start: “I was so happy with the approach, we came to kill and in 10 minutes we destroyed them. It was a very good performance. We pressed them very high immediately, recovered the ball and attacked the space fast. I wanted three points, [but] on top of that we got the result that are special for the fans.”
Arsene Wenger was in resigned mood: “This defeat is my fault, I take full responsibility for it. We got a good hiding today. Yes, of course it’s one of the worst days [in my career]. It’s over after 20 minutes and it’s a long game after that. You don’t prepare all week to experience that kind of experience.”