Chelsea strike at will as Arsenal cower and hide

Chelsea strike at will as Arsenal cower and hide

Chelsea ripped apart Premier League title rivals Arsenal in a 6-0 mauling at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to ensure Arsene Wenger's 1,000th game turned into a nightmare for him and blundering referee Andre Marriner.

Goals from Samuel Eto'o, Andre Schurrle, Eden Hazard, Oscar (2) and Mohamed Salah coupled with Marriner's decision to send off Kieran Gibbs for a handball by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will ensure Wenger remembers the day for all the wrong reasons.

The sending-off did little to affect the destination of the points, however, as Arsenal were already 2-0 down when Gibbs was dismissed for his team-mate's indiscretion and Hazard stepped up to covert the resulting penalty after just 17 minutes.

Eto'o cut inside a half-hearted challenge and curled a superb left-foot finish into the corner. With the Arsenal defence in disarray, Chelsea struck another rapier-like blow after seven minutes, again exposing Arsenal's open left flank with Schurrle this time applying the finish with a low drive across Wojciech Szczesny into the corner. It was then Marriner's turn to rival Arsenal's blundering backline for the day's costliest error as he flashed a red card in Gibbs's direction after Oxlade-Chamberlain had made a diving fingertip save on the line to deny Hazard. 

Replays showed an incredulous Oxlade-Chamberlain mouthing "it was me" at the official, but the decision stood and Gibbs trudged to the touchline before Hazard calmly stroked the penalty down the middle of the goal after 17 minutes. Chelsea added a fourth through Oscar who finished  from close range three minutes before the break. Arsenal's calamitous afternoon was neatly encapsulated when Szczesny made a hash of saving Oscar's curling shot which bounced up off the ground before tamely finding the net. Salah came off the bench to slot in the sixth goal.

City, Liverpool win

Meanwhile, Liverpool and Manchester City did not let Chelsea’s six-goal rout of Arsenal affect them as they also got in on the goals in maintaining the chase of the Premier League leaders.

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Liverpool maintained their title push beating struggling Cardiff City 6-3. Liverpool went a goal down after Jordon Mutch's ninth-minute opener, before Suarez hauled Liverpool level soon afterwards.

The Reds' fell behind again to Fraizer Campbell's effort on 25 minutes, but Martin Skrtel levelled before the break with Liverpool's record 78th goal of the EPL campaign before adding his second after the interval. Suarez scored twice either side of Daniel Sturridge's strike to take the game away from Cardiff, with Mutch completing his brace later. Yaya Toure netted a hat-trick to keep Manchester City on course in their title push with a 5-0 win over Fulham. The west Londoners' centre-back Fernando Amorebieta gave away a penalty in each half - both converted by Toure. The latter foul, on City’s David Silva, resulted in a second yellow for the former Athletic Bilbao defender.

Toure saved his best goal until last, arching home an exquisite 30-yard strike to bring up 20 goals for the season. His midfield partner Fernandinho got in on the act with five minutes to play and Martin Demichelis enjoyed a tap-in to complete the scoring.

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