It was a sorry sight for Arsenal fans last night as they suffered a record defeat against Chelsea, going down 6-0. The hosts got off to a flying start, with Samuel Eto’o opening the scoring in the opening minutes. Goals and bizarre incidents followed, as Eden Hazard converted from the spot to make it 3-0, after Oxlade Chamberlain hand balled on the line. Almost comically, referee Andre Marriner mistakenly believed Kieran Gibbs had committed the foul, and the full back was dismissed as a result. Reflecting on the performance of his team, Wenger took full responsibility:
‘This defeat is my fault, I take full responsibility for it. I don’t think there’s too much need to talk about the mistakes we made. We got a good hiding today.‘ the French manager said in an interview with the BBC.
While his humility is honourable, it’s hard to see how one could possible blame Wenger for the result – at least as far as his short term decisions are concerned. Given the length injury list that Arsenal currently have, the team all but picked itself, and it’s quite unlikely to think that Chamberlain would feel that his manager was responsible for his decision to hand ball Hazard’s wayward effort that led to the penalty.
In his reaction to the match when speaking with the BBC, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was praiseworthy of his side, before reigniting the debate about video technology.
’10 minutes amazing. The way we started, the way we pressed them, the way we recover the ball and attack the spaces immediately, I think was fantastic.’
Responding to a question about the red card and mistaken identity, Mourinho had the following to say:
‘It is the kind of mistake that, I think a screen with the fourth official, and the situation is easily resolved. But football doesn’t allow that, and sometimes the referees have this kind of difficulty.’
One can’t help but side with Mourinho in this case. The simple fact that millions of fans around the world instantly recognised an error that could not be brought to the match official’s attention due to the lack of a screen seems utterly bizarre in this day and age.