Search icon


27th Apr 2015

Chelsea outwit Arsenal to put one hand on the trophy

Matt Stanger

If the build-up to this encounter was tediously familiar then the 90 minutes that followed were even more so.

Arsenal, on the back of a brilliant run of form, were challenged to prove themselves against Chelsea with victory serving as a precursor to a potential title challenge next season.

Always the nearly men, it was no surprise to see the Gunners held to a stalemate as Chelsea celebrated like champions.

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League

The statistics make for frightening reading for Arsene Wenger. He has now faced Jose Mourinho on 13 occasions, winning none and watching his team score just six goals. In the 1,170 minutes the two managers have shared the touchline, Arsenal have held the lead for only 73 minutes. Rarely did they look like extending that total on Sunday.

Indeed, with just one shot on target, this was as predictable a performance as they come for the hosts against this particular enemy. Arsenal pressed and probed as they searched for the weaknesses that Chelsea have concealed so effectively, but it is now over eight hours since the Gunners last broke the Blues’ resolve. Mourinho has nailed the formula for how to approach these tests.

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League

Occasionally his pre-match mind games have overstepped the mark – such as last season’s suggestion that Wenger is a ‘specialist in failure’. It was an entirely unnecessary remark, but one that Arsenal fans must have hoped would rekindle the fire in the Frenchman’s belly ahead of the current campaign.

However, Wenger’s pushing and shoving at Stamford Bridge in October was the closest Arsenal have come to challenging Chelsea’s mettle. Despite investing heavily over the last two summers – with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez arriving for a combined fee of £77m – it could be argued Wenger has gone backwards in trying to compete with Mourinho. The Gunners haven’t scored a goal against the Blues in five games since the Portuguese’s return.


Some may sneer at Chelsea’s perceived lack of intent on Sunday, but it should be remembered that they were missing top scorer Diego Costa along with understudy Loic Remy. The onus was on Arsenal to break them down – did anyone believe that was ever going to happen?

The result leaves the Blues within touching distance of their first title since 2009/10. Arsenal, on the other hand, prolong their 11-year wait to reclaim the trophy. Unless Wenger can finally figure out a way of beating his old adversary, next season is likely to be the same tired story.