Ref blunder as Gunners hit for six

first_img Mourinho made his “failure” barb – referring to Wenger’s eight-year trophy drought – after the Frenchman suggested anyone playing down their team’s title chances was doing so for fear of falling short. It ended the truce which had broken out in Mourinho’s absence from the Premier League and, ahead of their third meeting of the season, Mourinho stopped short of joining those paying tribute to Wenger ahead of his landmark match. Wenger’s 500th game was a loss to Chelsea in August 2006 and there were warnings in the opening skirmishes of a repeat as Schurrle and Eto’o exposed gaping holes in the Gunners defence. Petr Cech was at full stretch to turn away an Olivier Giroud effort before a direct run from Schurrle led to the opening goal. Schurrle fed Eto’o, who turned Oxlade-Chamberlain outside and then in before curling left-footed across Wojciech Szczesny for his 11th goal of the season, all of which have come at home. Soon after it was two after Nemanja Matic dispossessed Tomas Rosicky and found Schurrle, whose shot through three bodies found the corner of the net. After the 6-3 loss at the Etihad Stadium and 5-1 defeat at Anfield, the sinking feeling on a Saturday lunchtime was familiar for the Gunners. Worse was to follow when Hazard’s shot beat Szczesny and Oxlade-Chamberlain dived to his left to handle the shot, which was going wide. Marriner awarded a penalty and thought the offender was Gibbs, seemingly refusing to be persuaded otherwise by Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Hazard converted the spot-kick after the mayhem had subsided. Thomas Vermaelen went on for Lukas Podolski, but the Gunners leaked a fourth three minutes before half-time when Fernando Torres, on for the injured Eto’o, crossed for Oscar to tap in. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Laurent Koscielny did not reappear for the second half as Wenger made two further substitutions in an effort to stop the rot. Torres had a mazy run halted by Per Mertesacker and the ball broke for David Luiz, whose shot was saved by Szczesny, while there was a rare Arsenal attack which saw Santi Cazorla flash a shot across goal after 60 minutes. Arsenal’s miserable afternoon continued when the defence backed off and allowed Oscar to shoot from the edge of the area, with Szczesny less than convincing in being beaten for a fifth time. Salah replaced Oscar and soon after netted under Szczesny after racing on to Matic’s lofted pass, completing the rout. Press Association There was a bizarre case of mistaken identity as Arsenal embarrassingly capitulated in Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th match in charge in a 6-0 loss to Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea. Wenger was last month called “a specialist in failure” by Jose Mourinho and remains without a victory in 11 attempts against his nemesis after a spectacular implosion and an horrendous mistake by referee Andre Marriner. The Frenchman watched on helplessly after two goals in three first-half minutes from Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle gave Chelsea a handsome lead inside the first 10 minutes before Marriner sent off Kieran Gibbs for a handball committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Eden Hazard’s shot was handled in the area and, despite Oxlade-Chamberlain appearing to approach the official to admit wrongdoing, Gibbs was shown a red card in a decision which continues the debate over the use of television replays. Hazard converted the penalty to give the Blues a 3-0 advantage after 17 minutes as once against the Gunners imploded at the home of a title rival following the heavy losses at Manchester City and Liverpool. Oscar added a fourth before the interval, a fifth after 66 minutes and his replacement Mohamed Salah struck his first Chelsea goal as the Blues responded from the controversial loss at Aston Villa in emphatic fashion. Stamford Bridge revelled in the success, roaring “Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay” and “specialist in failure”. Marriner has previous at Stamford Bridge this season, awarding Chelsea a controversial last-gasp penalty against West Brom in November when it appeared Ramires dived. Hazard scored on that occasion to earn a draw in a result which preserved Mourinho’s unbeaten Premier League record at home, which now stands at 76 matches. The only saving grace on this occasion was that the decision did not appear to impact on the result and it is likely that Oxlade-Chamberlain will serve the suspension if Arsenal appeal or the Football Association intervene. With eight games remaining, Chelsea top the standings having played more matches than their three rivals, but Wenger’s title chance seems to have slipped and regaining the FA Cup won in 2005 appears to be the Gunners’ only opportunity of ending their silverware search. last_img read more

UW opens inagural B1G hockey conference with border battle at Minnesota

first_imgBig Ten hockey has arrived, at least Minnesota has, as the Wisconsin men’s hockey team travels to take on the No. 1 Gophers in a border battle that will inaugurate the new conference for both teams.With the new conference and facing off against the top team in the nation setting the stage, the stakes heading into the Friday-Saturday series could not be higher for the Badgers (4-3-1, 0-0 Big Ten).Yet for University of Wisconsin, they are simply happy to be getting back on the ice.“We’re excited to get back playing. The fact that we’re going into Minnesota and they’re ranked where they are, our kids will be excited,” head coach Mike Eaves said in a press conference Monday. “It’s an opportunity to bang the drum a little bit and make some noise by going in there and playing well, see what we can do.”The Badgers will enter Mariucci Arena coming off a bye week, the team’s third week off in the last five weeks, having played just eight games to Minnesota’s 12 games played so far this season.It is a challenge to keep the veteran squad focused and working hard despite having such little game-time minutes, Eaves said the team has found ways to make practice interesting, incorporating new drills and new techniques, as well as simulating game-like scenarios.“It is a challenge. It’s been kind of a fun one. I think, what it does, it gets us outside of our normal box. We’ve been creative,” Eaves said. “I think we’ve learned some new techniques and training things and drills that have kept our guys’ interest piqued, but at the same time, trying to keep them as close to game ready as we can.”While the Badgers will be coming in well-rested, the Gophers head into the series after splitting a pair of games last weekend with Minnesota-Duluth. Following a decisive 6-1 victory in game one over the Bulldogs, the Gophers went on to drop the second game 6-2, crushing the team’s 10-game unbeaten streak at home after giving up three UMD goals in the opening period.Boasting the second-best offense in the nation, averaging more than four goal-per-game, Minnesota will be a challenge to contain for the Badger defense and goaltending pair of juniors Joel Rumpel and Landon Peterson. Junior Gopher forward Sam Warning leads the way on the attack with a team-high 19 points off five goals and 14 assists, putting him in third on the nation’s assists scoreboard. With goal scoring split across the lines for UM, Wisconsin will need to be firing on all cylinders to contain the explosive offense.Yet the meeting will be no easy task for Minnesota, as the rivalry never sees a dull match, as the Badgers boast a team full of depth and experience. While forward Nic Kerdiles saw his 18-game point streak dating back to last season snapped against Miami two weeks ago, the sophomore continues to be one of the most consistent Badgers on the ice with four goals and four assists on the year. Kerdiles sits tied with three other Badgers with eight points on the year, only to be topped by senior forward Michael Mersch with nine points.The last time the two teams faced off was at the Hockey City Classic hosted at Soldier Field in Chicago last season. After a 3-2 victory for Minnesota in game one at the Kohl Center, the Badgers scored three goals in three minutes and 19 seconds in the second period in the frigid outdoors to lead the team to a 3-2 win over a then-ranked No. 2 Gopher squad.last_img read more