Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have faced each other in 11 games. Wenger has failed to beat his Portuguese counterpart in each and every one of them, and Saturday’s defeat is the most humiliating. On what was supposed to be a day of celebration for the Arsenal manager as he reached a commendable 1,000 games in charge of the Gunners, Arsenal were picked apart by Chelsea from the very first whistle. There was no relenting in the misery for Wenger as his Saturday champagne turned into a headache of goals, injuries and red cards. Mourinho on the other hand, rarely left his seat or cracked a smile as his side romped to a completely unflattering scoreline. Lest we forget Mourinho is yet to lose in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge in either of his spells in charge, and the battle between Le Professeur and the Special One tilts unequivocally towards the blue corner.
Perhaps the biggest turning point in the game came in its early stages when referee Andre Marriner sent off defender Kieran Gibbs before the quarter-hour mark. Marriner appeared to show the red card after mistaking Gibbs for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who handled the ball on the goal line. Perhaps it was the rush of the Chelsea players or the baying of the crowd, but Marriner was clearly confused as he beckoned Gibbs before pulling out the red card. Curiously, even when Oxlade-Chamberlain rushed over to confess that it was him who’d committed the foul, the referee pointed him away. Anthony Taylor, the fourth official, admitted at half-time that Marriner had made the decision himself, and was not guided by his linesman, and it seems that it was an honest mistake. Fifa rules allow clubs to appeal red cards in the case of mistaken identity, but it’ll do little to appease Wenger’s fury. While the incident was a large talking point in the game, it shouldn’t take away from the complete capitulation or gulf in class between the two sides.
Despite what Mourinho continues to tell anyone who’ll listen, Chelsea are rapidly becoming favourites for the Premier League title. The 6-0 drubbing of Arsenal signifies Mourinho’s biggest league win, and Chelsea’s season run-in includes six matches against sides in the bottom half, along with a visit to Anfield. While the Blues top the table, they do have four games in hand on Manchester City with only a nine-point gap. Should City win those four, they’ll leapfrog Chelsea, but all the Blues can do is continue to win their games, and they’re certainly doing that. Having put three goals past Manchester United, and four past Tottenham a fortnight ago, the six against Arsenal is a show of strength from both Chelsea and Mourinho as the partnership looks to win the Premier League for the third time.
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