Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal: Blues hammer Gunners, as bizarre red card ruins Wenger’s big day (video)

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LONDON — Chelsea hammered London rivals Arsenal 6-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as Jose Mourinho’s men sent out a huge message to the rest of the Premier League title-chasers with their biggest-ever win over the Gunners.

Jose Mourinho’s men started in rampant fashion, as Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle scored in the first 10 minutes to put the Blues 2-0 up, then Eden Hazard scored a penalty to make it 3-0 after an incredible moment of controversy in the 16th minute. Standing on the line, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tipped Hazard’s original shot wide with his hand and referee Andre Marriner spotted the handball, awarded a penalty… but sent off Kieran Gibbs in a case of mistaken identity.

Cue pandemonium, but Arsenal were down to 10-men as Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge of the Gunners was to end in humiliation. Before the break Oscar added a fourth, then he scored again to make it 5-0 after 66 minutes. Mohamed Salah scored late on to make it 6-0, as Chelsea increased their lead at the top of the standings to seven points. The Blues have 69 points, while Arsenal are third with 62 points.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

A frantic start took place in the sun at Stamford Bridge, as Arsenal pushed early on and Olivier Giroud spurned a glorious chance put them 1-0 up in the 3rd minute as Petr Cech saved his tame effort. Arsenal were made to pay for that, massively, as Chelsea then went ahead in the fourth minute as Eto’o cut inside with a beautiful turn, then curled home a left-footed shot into the far corner to make it 1-0. Two minutes later Chelsea led 2-0, as Schurrle ran at the Gunners defense and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner as Stamford Bridge erupted. But the drama was not over, not by a long shot.

source:
Schurrle delights the home fans, as Chelsea battered Arsenal on Saturday.

In the 15th minute Hazard smashed a shot towards the bottom corner that had beaten Arsenal’s ‘keeper Szczesny but out of nowhere Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived to tip the ball wide with his hand. Referee Andre Marriner spotted the handball, awarded a penalty… but sent off Kieran Gibbs. Arsenal’s players protested, including Oxlade-Chamberlain who told the referee it was him, but Gibbs was still given his marching orders in one of the most bizarre dismissals in Premier League history.

Hazard converted the penalty kick to make it 3-0 to the Blues after 16 minutes, as Arsenal were down to 10-men and reeling from a remarkable opening few minutes at Stamford Bridge.

The game settle down for the rest of the first half, with Chelsea going close to making it 4-0 when David Luiz surged forward from midfield and saw his deflected effort tipped wide by Szczesny. But in the 42nd minute Chelsea did extend their lead, as substitute Fernando Torres, who had replaced Eto’o after nine minutes, ran down the right and pulled the ball back for Oscar to hammer home and make it 4-0 at the break.

Chelsea continued to attack after the interval, as Torres’ run saw Luiz smash a shot in on goal from six-yards out that Szczesny saved well in the 47th minute. For 10-man Arsenal it was a case of damage limitation, as the Gunners kept the ball when they could but struggled to create any chances as Chelsea defended as resolutely as ever. In the 59th minute a prolonged spell of possession saw Santi Cazorla drive into the box but the Spaniard dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Mourinho was animated on the bench throughout the second half as his side sat back and soaked up Arsenal’s pressure instead of piling on the misery. But Oscar did add a fifth, and his second, in the 66th minute as the Brazilian picked the ball up 25-yards out and bent a tame shot towards the bottom corner that Szczesny somehow allowed to slip through and into the net.

There was still time for more goals, as Salah jumped off the bench to finish coolly and make it 6-0 after Nemanja Matic’s terrific through ball. Chelsea sprayed the ball around for the rest of the  match, as the Blues enjoyed the afternoon sun in West London, while Arsenal were made to suffer for the entire 90 minutes.

LINEUPS 

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, David Luiz (Mikel, 72′); Schurrle, Oscar (Salah, 67), Hazard; Eto’o (Torres, 10′)

Goals: Eto’o (5′), Schurrle (7′), Hazard (17′)Oscar (42′ & 66′), Salah (71′)

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny (Jenkinson, 45′), Gibbs, Arteta, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Flamini, 45′), Cazorla, Podolski (Vermaelen, 24′), Giroud

Red Card: Gibbs (17′)

Stats behind Wenger’s time at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger
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When you manage for nearly 22 years, you’re sure to accumulate numerous statistical milestones.

Arsene Wenger holds the record for most Premier League games managed (823), FA Cups won (7) and of course, his incredible run of 49 games without defeat with the 2003/2004 Arsenal invincibles team.

[MORE: ALL COVERAGE OF ARSENE WENGER’S DEPARTURE]

Our friends at Opta have put together some statistics together on Wenger’s achievements over his time at the club that spans three decades.

Arsene Wenger’s Career (as of April 20, 2018)

Titles

Premier League 🏆🏆🏆

FA Cup 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

Community Shield 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆


Games Managed

Premier League – 823 games, 473 wins, 199 draws, 151 losses, 57.5% winning percentage

UEFA Champions League – 177 games, 83 wins, 41 draws, 53 losses

FA Cup – 109 games, 73 wins, 22 draws, 14 losses

League Cup – 73 games, 42 wins, 9 draws, 22 losses

UEFA Cup/Europa League – 23 games, 14 wins, 5 draws, 4 losses

UEFA Champions League qualifying – 14 games, 13 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses

Community Shield – 9 games, 6 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss

(more…)

Bocanegra, Hucles to chair USSF technical development group

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CHICAGO (AP) Former U.S. men’s captain Carlos Bocanegra and retired women’s midfielder Angela Hucles will chair a new technical development committee established by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The organization also appointed eight chief officers who will report to chief executive officer Dan Flynn, but the final two direct reports remain to be hired: general managers for the men’s and women’s national teams.

Bocanegra currently works as the vice president and technical director for Atlanta United while Hucles is a former CEO and has spoken at sports leadership summits. Both Bocanegra and Hucles are members of the U.S. Soccer board. Bocanegra in particular has been floated for the position of U.S. Men’s National Team general manager, and this appointment could be the first step. And with more than 100 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team and time spent as an executive, Hucles could also be angling for the USWNT general manager position.

The USSF said its board also established a new commercial committee, raising the board’s committee total to six under new president Carlos Cordeiro, who succeeded Sunil Gulati in February.

Nico Romeijn was promoted to chief sport development officer from head of coaching education, Ryan Mooney to chief soccer officer from director of sport development and Brian Remedi to chief stakeholders officer from chief administrative officer. Tonya Wallach was appointed chief talent and inclusion officer

Department heads continuing senior roles who are direct reports to Flynn include Jay Berhalter (chief commercial and strategy officer), Neil Buethe (chief communications officer), Eric Gleason (chief financial officer) and Lydia Wahlke (chief legal counsel).

Kroenke’s statement on Wenger

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Stan Kroenke has been a mostly hands-off owner for Arsenal over the past 10 years, preferring to put his trust in Arsene Wenger.

But today, with Wenger’s public announcement that he will step away at the end of the season, Kroenke released a poignant statement, calling on the club’s fans around the globe to back the side as it looks to hold on to a place in next season’s Europa League.

[MORE: Reaction to Arsene Wenger’s decision]

“This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” Kroenke said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.

“Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.

“We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game.

“We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.”

Kroenke has drawn the ire of many Arsenal fans who had been calling for Wenger to be sacked for years, as the Arsenal board year after year continued to offer Wenger a new contract. It appeared that as long as the club was stable financially, with UEFA Champions League television revenues coming in and the team competing for a top-four Premier League position, the board was content.

However, the last two seasons have seen Arsenal slip, with a record amount of defeats during Wenger’s tenure and a second-consecutive season outside of the Champions League, leading to more lost revenue.

Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal

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After almost 22 years in charge, Arsene Wenger has called time on his Arsenal reign.

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Wenger, 68, announced on Friday that he will be leaving the Gunners at the end of the current 2017/18 campaign despite having one year remaining on his contract.

Here is the statement from Wenger in full which was posted on Arsenal’s website with the heading “Merci Arsene” taking center stage.

“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” Wenger said. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.”

The Frenchman is a man who revolutionized the Premier League when he arrived in 1996 and he will be remembered as a bastion of attractive, possession based soccer as his Arsenal team of the 2003/04 season, dubbed the “Invincibles,” will always be remembered for going through an entire PL season unbeaten en route to winning the title.

Wenger has won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven community shield trophies during his time in charge of Arsenal, as well as leading them to 20-straight seasons finishing in the top four of the Premier League and 19 qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

That run ended last season as they finished in fifth and in the past few seasons there have been fan protests with “Wenger Out” or “Wenger In” dividing the fanbase.

However, Wenger’s tenure can end on a high in the Europa League as Arsenal face Atletico Madrid in the semifinals and he is essentially three wins away from returning Arsenal to the Champions League.

Wenger has so far managed Arsenal for 1,228 games with 704 wins in all competitions. His final game in charge will be the Europa League final in Lyon, if Arsenal get there. But his final Premier League game in charge of Arsenal will be away at Huddersfield Town on May 13.

The focus will now switch to who will take over from Wenger this summer with the likes of Diego Simeone, Carlo Ancelotti, Brendan Rodgers and Thomas Tuchel all linked with the job.

But in the more immediate future the final few weeks of the 2017/18 campaign in England will turn into an appreciation of Wenger and all he has achieved over the last two decades in charge of Arsenal.