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.

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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′)

After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

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All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.

VIDEO: de Bruyne delivers gorgeous assist on Lukaku goal

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It took a little bit of patience, but Romelu Lukaku finally got on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a delicious assist from crosstown club rival Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City playmaker delivered a spectacular outside-of-the-boot cross into the box, where Lukaku’s head met it and guided it towards the far post for Belgium’s second goal of the day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Arsenal close in on Leno; Man City near Jorginho signing, and more

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Arsenal looks like it will have a new man between the pipes for next season.

According to a report from German publication SportBild, Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno will be introduced as an Arsenal player on Tuesday, after a reported $23-29 million transfer fee. The 26-year-old was on Germany’s 35-man pre-World Cup squad, but was one of the last cuts as Joachim Low went with Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp in Russia.

Leno became the full-time starter for Leverkusen as a 20-year-old, and has held the position of the No. 1 for the last six seasons, earning plenty of Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League experience along the way.

It’s unclear what will happen to current Arsenal No. 1 Petr Cech. The 36-year-old Premier League legend experienced one of his worst seasons in net for Arsenal and he could begin the season as a backup, unless he moves to a new club. He reportedly has a contract through 2019.

Here’s some more transfer rumors from around the Premier League and Europe.

(more…)

VIDEO: Mertens scores wonderstrike for Belgium

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After a frustrating 45 minutes, it took only two minutes for Belgium to finally get on the board, even if it was a goal sprinkled with magic dust.

Off a partially cleared ball on the right side of the box, Belgium attacker Dries Mertens whalloped a shot that arced over Panama (and former LA Galaxy) goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, giving Belgium a 1-0 lead.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]