Wenger rages but Chelsea win was so predictable for Arsenal
Arsenal boss loses the plot as Mourinho maintains his hold over Wenger and the Gunners
Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0. In the end it was all so predictable. Chelsea cruised past Arsenal, Cesc Fabregas outshine Mesut Ozil, Diego Costa got on the scoresheet and the two managers got on each other's case.
There will be few more unedifying sights this season in the Premier League than the one that occurred midway during the first half at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger took exception to a reckless Gary Cahill tackle on Alexis Sanchez by leaving his technical area to remonstrate with the officials. Jose Mourinho blocked the Frenchman's path and was pushed back in playground fashion. The fourth official separated the two men and referee Martin Atkinson played the headmaster, calling the pair together and reminding them of their responsibilities (and perhaps their ages).
The pair sloped back to their technical areas and the game continued, as did the bad blood. The two managers didn't shake hands at the final whistle and Mourinho was quick to point the finger of blame in the post-match press conference. "There are two technical areas not one," he told reporters. "He was coming to my space. If it was to give an instruction to a player I say OK, but to press the referee to give a red card to an opponent is not fair. I don't think that is the image of Arsene Wenger as an advocate of fair play."
Wenger was reluctant to discuss the confrontation, saying simply that he had left his technical area because of Cahill's challenge. "Someone stood in front of me and that was it. I say absolutely nothing else on that." But he was clearly still up for a fight, and even offered to show the assembled press corps what a proper Wenger push is like, before adding sarcastically that he was looking forward to being taught "moral lessons" by the media.
Unfortunately for Wenger actions speak louder than words and his reputation has taken a hit because of the unsavoury skirmish. It will recover in time but the same may not be said of his team's chances of winning the title. The defeat means that the Gunners are seventh on ten points, nine behind Chelsea, while Wenger has now failed to beat Mourinho in 12 encounters.
Asked about the latest failure Wenger's answer bordered on the barking, the Frenchman claiming: "It was an even game but at the end of the day they have financial power and used it in an effective way with players like Diego Costa and Eden Hazard making the difference."
Chelsea paid Lille £32m for Hazard in 2012, £10m less than Arsenal forked out for Mesut Ozil 12 months ago. And while the Belgian was at his brilliant best on Sunday, Ozil once again disappointed, outmuscled and outmanoeuvred in the centre of the pitch.
It was Hazard who opened the scoring on 27 minutes, converting the penalty he had won after his magnificent run into the Arsenal area was halted only by Laurent Koscielny's wild lunge.
Costa doubled Chelsea's advantage 12 minutes from time, the Spanish striker scoring his ninth goal in seven league games thanks to a sweet pass from Fabregas that gave him the chance to lift the ball over the head of Wojciech Szczesny.
It was a goal to grace any game, in stark contrast to the embarrassing antics of the two managers. They were still at each other's throats long after the players were showering and changing. Mourinho told reporters Arsenal should have had three players sent off. Wenger wasn't standing for that. "Jose says we should have finished with eight men and I return that compliment. I don't know how Gary Cahill finished the game. I don't know how Branislav Ivanovic finished the game. I don't know how Oscar finished the game."
Jose, Arsene...grow up.