March 22, 2014 was a date that Arsene Wenger was meant to savour without end.
He was about to take cost of recreation no.1000 as Gunners boss, with a visit to London rivals Chelsea in opposition to his outdated managerial foe Jose Mourinho – the celebs merely aligned for Wenger to cap off the milestone in type.
However not even clever outdated Wenger may have imagined the nightmare that was about to unfold.
The Saturday afternoon conflict was a whole catastrophe from begin to end for the Gunners, and one which confirmed the altering of the guard in London.
Chelsea had already been a dominant pressure in English soccer within the decade earlier than, however this was the second when the capital actually did flip Blue.
A 6-Zero drubbing at Stamford Bridge – described as a ‘nightmare’ by Wenger after the sport – started with Samuel Eto’o scoring after simply 5 minutes.
Two minutes later the hosts had two, with Andre Schurrle getting in on the act.
By the 15th minute, Wenger’s special occasion was already a distant reminiscence.
In one of many strangest moments in Premier League historical past which maybe encapsulated the membership’s disarray in a nutshell, Arsenal had been decreased to 10 males when referee Andre Marriner despatched off Kieran Gibbs as a substitute of Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had dealt with a shot from Eden Hazard.
The Belgian buried the ensuing spot-kick, after which two objectives from Oscar sealed it, whereas even Mohamed Salah scored in a uncommon look for the Blues. This was the Liverpool striker’s first Premier League purpose and is now on the verge of scoring his 100th.
In the meantime, present Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was Wenger’s captain that day, arising in opposition to defender David Luiz, whom he later managed.
This was arguably probably the most embarrassing results of Wenger’s reign. If there have been any followers who nonetheless noticed this as a rivalry, Chelsea’s gamers supplied them a dose of actuality.
The Gunners had already been dismantled 6-Three by Man City on the Etihad in December earlier that season, whereas Liverpool hammered them 5-1 at Anfield only one month earlier than.
However the defeat wasn’t even probably the most damaging implication of the match, Mourinho’s subsequent bragging rights would show to be far more painful for Wenger the months after.
Simply two months after the match, Mourinho dubbed the three-time Premier League winner a ‘specialist in failure’, stating he had not gained a trophy in eight years.
The next season the feud reached it’s boiling level when the 2 sides met on the Bridge once more in October.
Tempers flared on the touchline as Wenger approached Mourinho earlier than each managers pushed one another.
And though Wenger relished his earlier rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson, he seems to be again on this rivalry with Mourinho much less fondly, as he admitted to talkSPORT final yr.
“That was typically very private and a little bit bit uncontrolled,” he stated.
“The issue is you go right into a recreation and have already got resentment due to what has been stated in press conferences, so 9 instances out of ten you hate the man on the opposite bench and maintain management of it.
“However typically it goes overboard.
“A couple of times with Jose Mourinho it bought uncontrolled, however after the sport you remorse it since you can not afford that.
“It creates a giant curiosity from folks as nicely.
“However after some time it turns into regular once more and the respect comes again for one another, since you are on this job for a very long time and on the finish of the day all endure collectively.”
4 years after the defeat to Chelsea, it was introduced that Wenger can be stepping down as Arsenal boss on the finish of the 2017/18 marketing campaign.
Nonetheless, he’ll go down because the Gunners’ biggest ever supervisor, having revolutionised the sport with arguably the nicest model of soccer the Premier League has seen.
The Chelsea defeat was one among a handful of painful reminiscences that the Frenchman endured – however his legacy as one of many all-time greats of the division won’t ever be tarnished.
His 17 trophies as Arsenal boss serves as proof for that.
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