The Blues provided the perfect response to last week’s defeat at Aston Villa, blowing Arsenal away at Stamford Bridge in emphatic fashion.
Having raced into a 2-0 lead inside nine minutes courtesy of goals from Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle, the visitors were then reduced to 10 men when Kieran Gibbs was sent off for a deliberate handball. Replays showed referee Andre Marriner had dismissed the wrong player as Eden Hazard’s strike was in fact handled by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the decision stood, and from the resulting penalty Hazard extended our lead.
Oscar made it 4-0 shortly before the break, and a further strike by the Brazilian, along with a first Chelsea goal for substitute Mohamed Salah, ensured we recorded our biggest ever victory over the Gunners. The fact the game was Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th in charge of Arsenal merely compounded the visitors’ misery.
Jose Mourinho, who celebrated his biggest win as Chelsea manager, was delighted with the performance of his players, and felt the game was all but won inside the opening 10 minutes.
‘We had 10 amazing minutes and with that you can win the game and show everybody that today you won’t give a chance to any opponent,’ he said. ‘I was so happy with the approach, we came to kill and in 10 minutes we destroyed them. After that it was easy; penalty, red card, 3-0, but my analysis of the game is about the 10 minutes. It was a very good performance.
‘We knew they wanted the ball and they wanted to build from the back. We pressed them very high immediately, recovered the ball and attacked the space fast. The 10 minutes were so amazing that we still had space for Petr Cech to make an important save from the only shot Arsenal had.
‘We are not a team that normally starts very well, it normally takes time. Our second half is usually better than the first half but in the last two matches it had a big impact on the game.
‘I wanted three points, a good performance and we got that. On top of that we got the result with numbers that are special for the fans. We work for the fans and if we can give them what we did, it’s even more beautiful.’
Mourinho provided his thoughts on the red card
‘Obviously to play against 10 men is easier, I’m not going to be a hypocrite to say it’s the same as playing against 11 men. They took Podolski off, one less attacking player. Obviously we were more comfortable and relaxed but there was no doubt, after 10 minutes, with the way we started, it was our game.
‘The sending off is big ammunition for people like me who think one little screen is a big help for the fourth official against these kind of mistakes. The important thing is that the penalty was a penalty and the red card was a red card. It would be nice for the ref, because he doesn’t want to make that mistake, if there was a screen which said Chamberlain, not Gibbs. It’s the kind of mistake no referee wants to make.’
He also provided an update on the injury sustained by Eto’o.
‘With his experience he thinks it’s not big. Before the big tear, he was able to say enough is enough, but a hamstring is a hamstring.’
The performances of both Schurrle and Salah pleased the manager
‘I know what Schurrle can do, for good and bad. This first season is for him to develop, adapt to the league, adapt to the way I want the team to play, but we know the player he can be if he keeps his good qualities and improves the qualities that nobody was pushing for him to develop before he came here. Today was a really good performance and he played very well in Istanbul and at Fulham in the second half.
‘For Salah it’s more difficult, he’s younger and coming from a different environment and culture. He needs even more time but we believe he will be an important player for us next season. He played 25 minutes today, 25 minutes against Newcastle and 45 minutes against City, that’s good for him.’
On what the result means in terms of the title race
‘Man City have everything in their hands, Liverpool have everything in their hands. Nobody plays Champions League from the top four, they have just the Premier League matches to play and we have at least two big Champions League matches to play in between.’