It was a cruise for most of the box-office teams in Spain and England. Barcelona routed Sporting Gijon 5-0 while Manchester United and Manchester City also won in the Premier League by dominant margins, by 4-1 and 3-1 respectively.
The biggest story of the day, though, was made by Arsenal, who comprehensively beat London rivals Chelsea for the first time since 2012. As the day loomed large over Wenger’s head, it looked as if the French manager would yet again succumb to his frailties when it comes to playing against the Blues, who he has a miserable record against throughout his managerial career.
However, the manager, fast approaching his 20th anniversary at the club, set his team out to play the kind of football that every Arsenal fan dreams of. His side brimmed with intent when in possession, and worked as a cohesive unit in defense. The latter, specifically, was the one that would’ve impressed Wenger the most, as the Gunners are usually very good with the ball, but not the same without it.
Alexis Sanchez, who’s made gallops of progress in the centre-forward role, finally clicked into the 5th gear. He used his superb pace to close Gary Cahill down and was rewarded with a golden opportunity to score a goal—which he took, and then he made a darting run when the clock was close to being half-time to set up Özil for his goal. All in all, a fantastic performance from the Chilean, capped off with a Man of the Match award. To be honest, though, almost every individual in the attacking half of this team was a legitimate contender for that honor.
As for Antonio Conte, it is back to the drawing board. Many will wonder what the Italian was thinking when Fabregas essentially forced his way into the starting lineup and put in a performance as much in shambles as was visible today. The former Juve coach looked utterly disgusted on the touchline as he watched his team crumble at the home of their archrivals, and with very good reason, too. After the match, the coach emphasized that the Chelsea players did not have the ‘right attitude’ and they were only great ‘on paper’. It is astonishing what a defeat like this can do; Conte will definitely look at some of the individuals in his starting lineup today with a different pair of eyes from now on. Apart from Costa, everyone almost seemed to just stand still when the team was in possession, contrary to their opponents, who made runs and created space all the time.
In La Liga, Real Madrid were held to yet another draw, this time against Las Palmas. The late equalizer came from Sergio Araujo for the Yellows, and Zidane will be hugely disappointed as the Royal Whites have now dropped 4 points in 2 games.
Sporting Gijon 0-5 Barcelona
Las Palmas 2-2 Real Madrid
Manchester United 4-1 Leicester City
Swansea 1-3 Manchester City
Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea