Chelsea 6 Arsenal 0
Chelsea crushed Arsenal in a sunny afternoon at Stamford Bridge to effectively end the Gunners’ title dreams and ruin Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge. Samuel Eto’o opened the scoring early on, with Andre Schurrle adding a second 2 minutes later. An Eden Hazard penalty, a brace from Oscar and a first Chelsea goal for Mohamed Salah capped off a marvellous day for the Blues and keeps them well in contention for the title.
With Ramires and Willian suspended, there were a number of changes to the starting 11 with Nemanja Matic and David Luiz in and Frank Lampard dropped to the bench. Schurrle came in for Willian.
Arsenal looked shaky from the off although they did half a chance to take the lead before the Chelsea onslaught began. Giroud was fed a pass through the defence and pounced on it but was unable to find the net, with Petr Cech diverting his effort away from goal.
It was slightly worrying stuff but any early nerves were soon calmed when Schurrle burst forward at the Arsenal defence before finding Eto’o on the right. The Cameroonian had to cut back before curling a sublime effort past the despairing Arsenal keeper Szczesny and into the net.
Arsenal were shell-shocked and two minutes later they were two goals down. Schurrle was again involved but this time as the scorer, teed up by Matic to run at the defence. He ran forward and then pinged a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box to double his side’s advantage and leave the Gunners reeling.
Every time the home side had the ball their visitors looked vulnerable and that was with 11 men on the pitch. With 16 minutes gone they were reduced to 10 and found themselves with a huge mountain to climb. One downside for Chelsea was the loss of Eto’o to injury, but Fernando Torres was instantly involved in the third goal. He ran into the box off a Hazard pass and then returned the ball to the Belgian, who beat Szczesny with his shot only for Oxlade-Chamberlain to divert it wide with his arm.
Referee Marriner pointed to the spot, but incredibly showed a red card to Gibbs, despite protestations from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Hazard took the resulting spot-kick and clipped it down the middle as Chelsea took what seemed to be an insurmountable lead.
And chances to extend it further kept coming their way, with David Luiz going very close with a deflected shot which Szczesny just managed to tip round the post.
There was little he could do when the fourth goal did arrive, Torres finding Oscar in the box and the Brazilian clipping into the roof of the net from a yard or so out. Arsenal had been smashed in the first half and the game was as good as over. José Mourinho’s eyes were now focussed on his side improving their goal difference.
His side came out after the interval determined to do just that and Luiz again went close after being set up by Torres.
Arsenal managed to steady the ship to some extent, helped by the introduction of Flamini and Jenkinson but they never really looked like scoring. The closest they came was on the hour mark when Cazorla clipped a shot across goal which went just wide of the post, and Mourinho was not happy at his side losing focus.
They responded superbly and Luiz lifted a ball over the defence to Torres, who in turn found Oscar and the Brazilian’s effort almost found the net only for Szczesny to tip it over the bar.
Oscar was determined to get a second goal though and he did just that five minutes later when he took a shot from distance which crept past the Arsenal ‘keeper and into the net, helped by a bounce just in front of Szczesny.
Minutes later, Torres had a go from a similar range and again the Arsenal keeper spilled it but this time he managed to recover with David Luiz sniffing around the area.
But a sixth and final goal would come and it was substitute Salah who got it. On for Oscar, the Egyptian was played in by a great pass from midfield by Matic. He had all the time in the world to close in on Szczesny and then bury the ball in the back of the net to make it 6-0.
It was a glorious afternoon for the Blues and could have got even better had Schurrle found the net late on but Stamford Bridge had to settle for six. The Blues laid down a big marker in the title race and but as the season reaches its conclusion Arsenal will have to be content with a fight for FA Cup glory.
Chelsea; Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Luiz (Mikel 70), Matic, Schurrle, Oscar (Salah 66), Hazard, Eto’o (Torres 9)
Unused subs; Schwarzer, Kalas, Lampard, Ba
Chelsea scorers; Eto’o 4, Schurrle 6, Hazard 16 pen, Oscar 41, 65, Salah 70
Referee; A Marriner
Young Ulster Blue