Gunners get smoked

2014-03-22 23:00

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Chelsea jolt Arsenal’s title aspirations

Chelsea (4) 6 Arsenal 0

Chelsea all but ended Arsenal’s title aspirations after cruising to a comfortable 6-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in today’s lunchtime Premier League London derby.

The stage was set for a scintillating derby, with Chelsea looking to bounce back from a surprise ­0-1 defeat to Aston Villa, while the Gunners were aiming to build on an encouraging 1-0 triumph over fellow London side Tottenham Hotspur.

But the match was effectively over as a contest after half an hour as a rampant Blues outfit raced to a three-goal lead, with Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs wrongfully being dismissed after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had acrobatically handled the ball on the line.

José Mourinho’s men rubbed further salt in the wounds of their opponents in the closing stages of the first stanza as Oscar latched on to a pass from substitute Fernando Torres before slotting home from inside the six-yard box.

But Chelsea showed no mercy after the break, with Oscar bagging a second before his replacement, Mohamed Salah, notched their sixth of the afternoon following a quick counterattack.

As expected, the match started at a frantic pace with Arsenal twice threatening to score before conceding two quick-fire goals in the space of two minutes.

Gunners frontman Olivier Giroud saw his ­ second-minute effort blocked by the Chelsea rearguard before drawing a good save from Petr Cech with a ­­ left-footed shot from the centre of the box one minute later.

Chelsea went on to claim the lead in the fifth minute as they launched a quick break through André Schürrle and Samuel Eto’o, with the latter dummying a ­ right-footed shot before dragging the ball on to his left and curling it into the top-left corner from just inside the area.

The second arrived on seven minutes, with Schürrle racing clear of the Arsenal defender before collecting a raking pass from Nemanja Matic and firing into the bottom left corner from the right side of the box.

The writing was on the wall in the 15th minute when Arsenal were reduced to 10 men, Gibbs wrongfully being dismissed after Oxlade-Chamberlain had handled the ball on the line, conceding a penalty in the process.

Eden Hazard calmly converted the resulting spot kick to make it 3-0 before Oscar converted from close range in the 41st minute to put the result beyond doubt.

Things didn’t get any better for the Gunners after the break, Oscar curling a long-range effort into the bottom corner just moments before being replaced by Salah.

Salah added his own name to the scoresheet just four minutes after entering the fray, latching on to a through ball from Matic before scoring.

Despite the nature of the scoreline, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger stubbornly refused to abandon a high defensive line and the visitors were fortunate not to concede once again as Chelsea attacked continuously.

The result sees Chelsea take a step closer to towards potentially claiming the Premier League title, while Arsenal’s top-four aspirations are now hanging in the balance as the season reaches its climax.

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