Mourinho steps in after dour draw for Arsenal and Chelsea
Chelsea coach accuses Arsenal of 'crying' after goalless draw in filthy conditions
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0. Perhaps it was inevitable that one of the biggest games of the season played in filthy conditions at the Emirates would end in a goalless draw as Jose Mourinho kept his unbeaten record against Arsenal intact.
The bad-tempered stalemate means the Gunners will be second in the table, behind Liverpool on goal difference, on Christmas Day, with Chelsea just two points behind them in fourth place.
It also means that Arsenal, who were seven points clear at the top just a few weeks ago, have now failed to win in four matches and are showing worrying signs of fatigue.
The Arsenal fans booed "boring" Chelsea at the end of the dour encounter, but it was the Blues who had the better chances, as the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud failed to spark the Gunners into life. The conditions undoubtedly played a part but Arsenal's lack of cutting edge was clear as they managed just two attempts on target all game, the first of which came in the 85th minute, when Petr Cech saved at the feet of Giroud.
The Blues managed 13 shots and came closest to a goal when Frank Lampard's fierce volley came back of the crossbar late in the first half.
In the absence of much action on the pitch, it was left to old reliable, Mourinho, to provide the headlines. And he did so with a post-match press conference in which he claimed Arsenal "like to cry" after Jon Obi Mikel escaped a red card for a horrible challenge on Mikel Arteta and the Gunners had a valid shout for a penalty waved away when Willian tripped Theo Walcott in the box.
The Portuguese coach insinuated that Arsene Wenger's side were too soft, and extolled the virtues of "English blood" in the game. "Football is a game of contact. English football, winter, water on the pitch, sliding tackles at fantastic speed... Be proud. Play with pride. If you are hurt, OK, you are hurt. If you have pain... well, I have pain every day and I work every day."
His comments are unlikely to build any bridges with Wenger, who has never tasted victory in ten attempts against the Chelsea coach.
However, the Christmas programme offers a ray of light for Arsenal fans. They will expect to beat West Ham on Boxing Day as Liverpool and Man City play each other, before the Reds take on Chelsea at the weekend. ·