5 things we learned from Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal (Photos)
The visitors saw Gabriel and Santi Cazorla sent off either side of Kurt Zouma’s headed goal, with Eden Hazard securing the points for the champions
A bad tempered first half erupted just before the break when Gunners defender Gabriel saw red for clashing with Blues striker Diego Costa, who was lucky to stay on the pitch himself.
Any hopes of an Arsenal comeback receded when Santi Cazorla was also shown red, receiving his marching orders for a second bookable offence after his mistimed tackle on Cesc Fabregas.
Eden Hazard made sure of the points when his shot deflected off Calum Chambers in stoppage time.
1) Handshakes mean nothing
You suspect it was more about seizing a chance to take the mor*l high ground rather than actually wanting to end the long-running feud.
But Mourinho didn’t look as if he wanted to do it. Wenger avoided all eye contact. The handshake became blandshake.
It has become a side show and it’s interesting because it’s often the only visible way you can see whether the managers like each other or not or, more to the point, dislike each other.
This was meaningless. It was done purely to stop people talking about the issue. They didn’t actually mean it.
2) Diego Costa is the biggest wind up merchant going
Early on, Costa went down and started waving an imaginary card to try and get Francis Coquelin booked. I thought the directive was to book players for imaginary cards. It wasn’t even a foul.
That signalled his intentions and Arsenal should have been smart enough not to take the bait.
So when Costa had a bust-up with Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel, they should have been clever enough not to react.
Gabriel reacted, it was a petulant flick of the heel – a bit like Beckham in France 98 – and that was enough to get himself sent off.
Costa could have been sent off. But wasn’t because he’s a master of the dark arts. He tricked Gabriel, the referee and helped Chelsea win the game.
3) Oscar is such an important player
Oscar was perhaps the surprise in an attack minded team, playing in the No10 role.
Despite often being left out towards the end of last season, you realise Oscar’s importance to the team as he links between midfield and attack, often spotting the through ball.
He is an important player for Chelsea and they look better with him in the starting line-up.
They are much more balanced. There was some better displays with Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta also performing much better.
4) John Terry is on his way out
Whether we agree it’s right or not, Terry is being eased out of Stamford Bridge.
Not being included in the starting line-up in a game like against Arsenal would have hurt him deeply.
It’s also a clear sign that, from last season where he played every minute of every Premier League game, he is now seen as a weak link.
Personally, I don’t agree. Still a good leader and defender. But Jose Mourinho clearly feels age and pace mean that he misses out against the better teams who have pace.
5) Chelsea have still got the measure of Arsenal
We expected one of Chelsea’s defenders to be the weakest link.
In fact, it was Nacho Monreal who was left most exposed and was the worst defender on the pitch.
Eden Hazard had his best game for ages. Chelsea’s start to the season has been disastrous and has left them shorn of confidence.
If there’s one way to get it back then it’s a game against Arsenal. Arsene Wenger had managed just one win in 14 games against Jose Mourinho and now it’s 15.
Some teams just have the measure of others. Playing Arsenal was a dream for Chelsea. It gets them firmly back on track.