Arsene Wenger has attempted to play down the significance of Arsenal’s first ever win over a Jose Mourinho managed Chelsea side. They believe it’s a sign of greater things to come.
Thibaut Courtois was the man who usurped the legendary Petr Cech as the number one goalkeeper at Chelsea and it is a testament to the young man’s abilities. First the Asia Cup, then the Emirates Cup and now this.
And the Arsenal manager may be tempted to see this win as another sign that his team is finally ready to challenge for the Premier League title again when the season starts next week.
Victory only strengthened that belief among the delirious Arsenal fans as they clearly believe this was more than a day out in the Sunday.
Arsenal: Wenger’s charges get their campaign underway with a home match against West Ham United, before travelling to take on fellow London outfit Crystal Palace.
It’s all very well doing it in a friendly.
There is no doubt though that the Frenchman is irritated by Mourinho – witness the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in last season’s Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge.
“He likes to get young kids with talent and natural ability and turn them into world-class players”. Whether it will be enough for the whole season, only time will tell. There are not many out there who would make an argument against those two teams, though, and for good reason. The team which romped their way to the title last season still looks the strongest and arguably the Blues’ main strength is their midfield.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Scored the winning goal in the annual curtain-raiser and suggested afterwards that there is more of that to come this season. Running on to Walcott’s pass down the right, the midfielder drove into the penalty area before cutting inside Cesar Azpilicueta and drilling a left-foot shot into the far corner – Arsenal’s first goal against Chelsea since January 2013.
As monkeys on backs go, there were hardly any bigger than Chelsea coach José Mourinho for Arsène Wenger.
“We had many chances”, he said.
Chelsea could be without Diego Costa against Swansea City on the opening weekend of their Premier League defence after Jose Mourinho admitted he didn’t know whether the 26-year-old would be available.
Mourinho tried to rally his side in the second period, bringing on Radamel Falcao, but it was Eden Hazard who had the best chance to level the scores, only to blast the ball over the bar.
Arsenal nearly made it 2-0 in the closing stages when Santi Cazorla’s chip-shot was saved by Courtois, and Aaron Ramsey’s follow-up was blocked.
Messrs Mourinho and Wenger.