Arsene Wenger’s 1000th match in charge of Arsenal ended in defeat in the hands of the Premier League leaders Chelsea.
The Gunners fell seven points behind Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, following their 6-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
A Sanuel Eto’O fifth minute opener, Andre Schurle’s superb strike, Eden Hazard’s spot-kick, Oscar’s brace and a Mohammed Salah left-footed shot sealed victory for ‘The Blues’, reigniting their title hopes in the wake of the 1-0 loss to Aston Villa.
‘The Gunners’s’ only meaningful shot at goal was clawed out by goalkeeper Petr Cech 4 minutes into the game.
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs was mistakenly sent off, after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had kept out a goal-bound effort with his palm.
Wenger named an unchanged lineup from the side which beat Tottenham last week, while Mourinho replaced Ramires and Willian with David Luiz and Andre Schurle from the side which lost at Villa.
The French boss received torrents of tribute on reaching another milestone in his managerial career since joining the North London outfit in 1996 and, even his opponent Mourinho did say he “admire” his appearance record, but refused to rule out the rivalry between them.
When it was time to do the talking on the pitch, Chelsea were quick to shake off the disappointments a week ago as the hosts came up with two goals in the space of two minutes.
Samuel Eto’O opened scoring early on, after breaking on the counter with Hazard, who laid a beautiful pass to the Cameroon international to cut inside Oxlade-Chamberlain before bending in a brilliant finish.
While the visitors’ midfield remained completely missing, Chelsea kept breaking on the counter and got a second goal from a similar counter-attacking scenario.
Schurrle carefully dumped a low shot into the far corner from 20 yards to extends Chelsea’s lead.
Mourinho then lost Eto’O from what looked a hamstring injury with Fernando Torres named his replacement, but Hazard denied Wenger any chance of a memorable comeback, scoring from 12 yards, after Chamberlain turned away his shot by hand.
Referee Andre Marriner apparently awarded a wrongful red card to Gibbs from the penalty incident, but the Football Association says Arsenal can appeal the decision.
Following a red card clubs can also review possibility of a wrongful dismissal claim to The @FA, unless dismissal is for 2 yellow cards 2/2
— The FA (@FA) March 22, 2014
Chelsea helped themselves with a fourth goal when Torres galloped unchecked through the middle, outpacing Per Mertesacker before squaring for Oscar to fire into the roof of the net.
Arsenal being drubbed away at top four rivals is a rather familiar headline so far, following their 6-3 loss at the Etihad and their 5-1 loss in February at Anfield.
1000th anniversary went awful for Wenger as Oscar bent a side-footer around substitute Mathieu Flamini only for Wojciech Szczesny to push the tame shot into the net for Chelsea’s fifth.
Salah, who came in for the Brazilian moments after scoring his brace, completed scoring in the 71st minute, beating an offside trap to roll home under Szczesny’s body- his first goal for the West Londoners.
The victory in front of home crowd came with a twist as it is the first time in history Chelsea will score six goals under Mourinho in a league game and Wenger has now refused to win against the Portuguese boss in eleven attempts; yet Arsenal have failed to score against Chelsea in three meetings this season.