Saturday, 22 March 2014

HIT FOR SIX: Arsene Wenger explains how Arsenal contrived to lose his 1000th game in charge. With gusto.

Strange way to celebrate: Wenger can't watch his 1000th game in charge
There can be no words to explain how Arsenal fans feel about Arsene Wenger's 1,000th game in charge. Just like those drubbings against Manchester City and Liverpool, Chelsea were 2-0 up in seven minutes and romped to a 6-0 triumph.

The ageless Samuel Eto'o scored after just four minutes, Schurrle added the second in the 7th, Eden Hazard converted the much-talked-about penalty (more of that later) after 17 minutes and by the time lethal Oscar added the fourth and fifth, South African Gooners may have been asking if this was murder before sub Salah completed the rout.

Jose Mourinho, now unbeaten in 11 clashes with Wenger, celebrated his greatest triumph for Chelsea (their next-best was 6-1 against Macclesfield in the FA Cup, 2007) by saying: "We started so strong. After seven minutes it was all over. We were too strong for them."

The man who controversially described Wenger as a failure a month ago didn't need to say much more.

Without a trophy win since Patrick Vieira stuck home the penalty shoot-out winner against Manchester United to lift the FA Cup in 2005, Wenger has now gone 508 of those 1,000 games without silverware.

Here's what Wenger said afterwards. No further words are required:

"This defeat is my fault, I take full responsibility for it. I don't think there's too much need to talk about the mistakes we made. We got a good hiding today.

"It's how we respond now on Tuesday night [against Swansea] and the best way is not to explain too much the mistakes.

"Yes, of course it's one of the worst days [in my career]. It's over after 20 minutes and it's a long game after that. You don't prepare all week to experience that kind of experience."

Who me? Gibbs is wrongly dismissed
There was one moment of light relief for Arsenal fans at Stamford Bridge, where Arsenal haven't won since the days of Bergkamp and Wright.

When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made a flying save to a shot going wide (an obvious red card), referee Andre Marriner erroneously dismissed Kieran Gibbs amid much confusion.

Though it hardly matters on a day when Arsenal's title hopes were emphatically crushed, Wenger explained: "I believe it was handball but the referee hasn't seen it. The ball went out and I think it's Chamberlain who touched the ball. I don't know who gave indication to the referee that it was handball but he has certainly not seen it.

"Of course. it's a huge disappointment today but we want to win the next game now."

What Wenger failed to explain to the BBC is why his side consistently starts the early kick-off Saturday afternoon games so badly... and why he didn't start with defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini against a Chelsea side flying high at the top of the Premier League. 

If there IS a gala dinner to celebrate Wenger's 1000th game in charge, it might be a good last supper to avoid.

STOP PRESS: Wayne Rooney's wondergoal for Manchester United (watched by previous wondergoal specialist David Beckham) is HERE:

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