Arsene Wenger was in desperate need of his trademark puffa jacket on Saturday at Stamford Bridge. Not because of the weather, mind you - the sun was shimmering in West London. No, Arsene could have used his puffa (and its fail-safe zipper) for more selfish reasons on this day, namely to shade himself from the shame of watching yet another epic implosion. The shame ... so intense, so enjoyable.
The Arsenal manager, celebrating his 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal, gasped, sighed, gyrated, tossed water bottles and eventually (finally) put his feet up as his side succumbed to Chelsea 6-0. The visitors were down by two goals inside seven minutes, then three goals and a man after 15. It. Was. Hilarious.
Chelsea's home support burst into chants of "Specialist in failure." Again ... It. Was. Hilarious.
And, of course, brilliant.
Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring on five minutes, the old man curling in a salacious left-footer after the imperious Nemanja Matic roared to life in the middle of the pitch to dispossess Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (more on him later). Two minutes later, Andre Schurrle added to the lead. The German winger, in for the suspended Willian, relished the opportunity, terrorizing Arsenal's collection of misfits time and again. On this occasion, he took advantage of some hesitant defending from Laurent Koscielny by slashing a low drive through the defender's legs and past a helpless Wojciech Szczesny at his far post.
It was indeed a breathless opening from both sides, with Arsenal actually carving out the game's first chance. Olivier Giroud promptly wasted it with a fairly weak effort that Petr Cech palmed away, and Arsenal soon thereafter started gifting possession to Chelsea at midfield and indeed all over the pitch. Not exactly the best strategy against a side with the counter-attacking acumen of the hosts.
The game reached its comic crescendo after 15 minutes. Yet another Arsenal giveaway, this one from Santi Cazorla, allowed Chelsea to break forward through Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres. Torres checked back on the left side of the penalty area and laid the ball back for Hazard, who attempted to angle a shot toward the far post. The strike was clearly heading wide, but Oxlade-Chamberlain had no idea and opted to throw his arm out to deflect the shot. Easy decision for referee Andre Marriner.
Or so we thought.
Marriner did indeed reward a penalty to Chelsea for the offense as well as a red card to an Arsenal player for denying a goal-scoring opportunity. However, Marriner sent Keiran Gibbs packing instead of Oxlade-Chamberlain. Both players protested the decision, with Oxlade-Chamberlain clearly admitting guilt in replays, but Marriner was having none of it. Farcical, yes, but also hilarious.
Eden Hazard calmly tucked away the penalty, and the game was over inside 20 minutes. Unfortunately for Arsenal, though, the scoring was not.
Oscar added a fourth a couple of minutes before halftime, slamming home a Torres cross from the center of the area, before completing a brace in the 66th minute thanks to some woeful goalkeeping from Szczesny. Mohamed Salah then added the proverbial cherry to the top of Arsenal's shit sundae with a cool finish in the 71st. It was the Egyptian's first goal for Chelsea and a delightful way to cap an entertaining afternoon at the Bridge.
Salah's goal gave Jose Mourinho his largest ever win in English football, while relegating Arsenal to their heaviest defeat in the 107-year existence of this matchup. The rout also ensured Mourinho remained undefeated in 11 all-time meetings with Wenger.
Yes, it was a good day.
Both Liverpool and Manchester City won comfortably later in the day, meaning the title race remains extremely close, but those results were expected. Witnessing Chelsea respond to last week's blip in such style, against Arsenal no less, was not exactly a surprise but it was definitely needed and lovely to see.
Mourinho, as usual, wasn't around for the full-time whistle having already headed down the tunnel. Wenger probably wishes he had done so after 15 minutes.