Cesar Azpilicueta, part of the team that delighted Jose Mourinho with its approach and start to Saturday’s utterly convincing win over Arsenal, believed the opening minutes decided the meeting between London’s two leading clubs.
The manager, speaking after the game, also said after 10 minutes everyone knew who was going to win, and it was hard to argue with him with Chelsea 2-0 up by then. The eventual 6-0 hammering bettered a 4-2 win in 1938 and a 3-0 in 1969, our two previous best home results against the Gunners, and surpassed the 5-0 League Cup win at Highbury in 1998 and three 4-1s in the league on their turf.
It was the biggest margin of victory for either side in the 182-game history of London’s oldest top-flight derby, stretching back to 1907.
Azpilicueta, who was playing his 50th Premier League game, is relatively new to such occasions but still appreciates the significance of days like these.
‘It was the biggest win under Jose, we played a really good game in front of our fans and always against Arsenal it is tough, but we did really well as a team,’ said the full-back.
‘We started really well but the early save from Petr Cech was crucial to the game because just after that we scored the first goal, a very wonderful goal from Samuel Eto’o, and the game changed. After that we kept pushing and then with one more man we controlled the game really well.’
The first three goals came from Chelsea harassing Arsenal out of possession near the halfway line and then breaking quickly. The Blues came into the match with confidence, determination and a game plan that worked.
‘Beforehand you don’t think that you are going to win 6-0 but in our minds was just to win, to get the three points and to play well because we came from the defeat against Aston Villa,’ said Azpilicueta.
‘The plan was that we know Arsenal are really comfortable with the ball so we tried to press hard to regain the ball quickly.’
Joining Eto’o, Andre Schurrle, Eden Hazard and Oscar on the scoresheet for the first time was Mohamed Salah who netted the sixth shortly after entering the action, and was then mobbed by his team-mates.
‘We are very happy all of us about him because he came in the middle of the season and it is always difficult to adapt,’ explained Azpilicueta, ‘so he is adapting really well and now we are going to see his best.
‘We need to enjoy this victory because you don’t win every time 6-0 against Arsenal. We had a really good game but we are just focusing game by game now.
‘We enjoy this but after, the only thing we are going to have in our mind is the game against Crystal Palace and we have to be tough and try to get the three points.’
– A clip of Cesar Azpilicueta talking to Chelsea TV after the game can be viewed below, with the full interview available now via the channel’s online access