It was a 3-0 win that ended over four years of waiting. Arsenal were perfectly set to celebrate Arsene Wenger’s anniversary marking his 1996 appointment next week by claiming their first victory over Chelsea since 2011, and with a performance aptly harking back to the manager’s best days at the club.
This was an incredible display, and sweet revenge for so many bad defeats to the Blues and so many painful moments for the Frenchman over the past decade. However, Antonio Conte wasn’t the coach over any of those results, and it looks like it will be a while until he enjoys any kind of domination over Arsenal on the basis of his sides huge and sluggish performance. This was Chelsea’s second league defeat in a row but an even worse display than in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
Chelsea started poorly and were quickly ripped aparts. They just couldn’t live with the pace of Arsenal’s game, a level of play that was so often shrinked. It was all too appropriate, then, that Wenger’s side so quickly went into the lead. Within 11 minutes, Alexis Sanchez had scored the opening goal, deftly lifting the ball over Thibaut Courtois after being given the freedom of the Chelsea half in which to run. His time and space on the ball would become a feature of the game.
That was actually Arsenal’s first goal against Chelsea in the league since January 2013 but they didn’t have to wait long for the next one. That came within three minutes after a supreme passing move ended with Hector Bellerin opting to square for Theo Walcott. There was barely a challenge to trouble either of them.
It the same vain Mesut Ozil decided to just whack the ball past Courtois for the third after he controlled a Sanchez well anticipated cross. The German went on to produce a good number of no-look passes and flicks and was so clearly enjoying himself. So were the fans. They cheered loudly as former Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas was hauled off just after half-time.
On the day of Wenger’s last big milestone, that marked his 1,000th game at Arsenal in March 2014, his team suffered a huge 6-0 defeat to Chelsea in a horriful performance that seemed to expose the worst of his management. Today saw something symbolically the opposite of that day, and it indeed showed the best of his management. Even aside from the fact it was such a big win against Chelsea, it was almost the ideal Wenger performance. It was the level of performance he craves for.