Mourinho maintains Wenger jinx as Chelsea crush Arsenal
Blues boss illustrates his strength in depth by sending out a reserve team worth £250m
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2. The Blues breezed through to the last eight of the Capital One Cup, barely breaking into a sweat as they brushed aside a poor Arsenal side. Goals from Cesar Azpilicueta and Juan Mata saw Chelsea home to continue Jose Mourinho's hold over Arsene Wenger.
The two managers have now come face to face nine times and the Arsenal boss is still seeking his first victory. He never looked like getting it at the Emirates on Tuesday night. Mourinho complained on Sunday, shortly after Chelsea had beaten Manchester City in the league, that too much was being asked of his squad to play another tough match within two days.
But Mourinho has strength in depth at the Bridge, something that Wenger still lacks. So while Gary Cahill was the only starter from Sunday's victory, Mourinho was able to send £250m worth of talent onto the field.
From the start the likes of Eto'o, Willian, Essien and Mata were too good for Arsenal's second string. Ryo Miyaichi and Carl Jenkinson looked out of their depth while Nicklas Bendtner once again looked out of shape and out of interest. Arsenal fans will expect him to be out of the door once and for all come the New Year.
It was a blunder from Jenkinson that led to Chelsea's first goal midway through the first-half. His weak header back to Lukasz Fabianski in the Arsenal goal was intercepted by Azpilicueta, and his sharp finish gave the visitors a deserved lead.
Mata doubled the Chelsea advantage on 66 minutes, the Spaniard firing home for his first goal of the season, and not even the arrival off the bench of Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud could turn the tie in Arsenal's favour.
"I think it was a very tight game that was decided on one or two mistakes," Wenger said later, though the Frenchman's assessment fooled no one who had witnessed the one-sided match.
What with last week's defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Arsenal have lost their last two home games, and Liverpool arrive at the Emirates on Saturday intent on making it a hat-trick. Arsenal then have the return fixture in Dortmund and a trip to Old Trafford four days later.
The Gunners' relatively gentle start to the season is about to getting rougher, and following the tame defeat to Chelsea the inevitable questions about the strength of the squad were again being asked of Wenger.
"Don't go too quickly into conclusions knowing that at the moment we have Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski who are out," he replied. "It's three players who have a big impact offensively. If you put them in I believe that it's a completely different position in the team."
As for whether two defeats in three games will undermine his squad's confidence ahead of ten tough days, Wenger believes they can overcome the blip. "It's difficult to swallow what's happened to us in the last week, but the mistakes aren't so big that they can't be corrected," he said. "We have to respond well on Saturday against Liverpool. We have an opportunity at home and we have to turn this around." ·