Chelsea humiliates Arsenal as ref blunders
By Rob Harris ,AP
March 24, 2014, 12:32 am TWN
LONDON -- A day of drama in the English Premier League produced 32 goals — including Wayne Rooney scoring from halfway — and a referee admitting he sent off the wrong player as Arsene Wenger's 1,000th match ended in embarrassment at Chelsea on Saturday.
Andre Marriner dismissed Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs instead of teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose diving save with his hand blocked the ball on the goal-line.
The 15th-minute sending off was hardly a turning point in the London derby, however, as Arsenal had already conceded twice inside seven minutes of Wenger's landmark match. And Arsenal crumbled further against the leaders after Eden Hazard converted the penalty kick, dropping to fourth in the standings as their title rivals all won.
“It's one of the worst days (in my career),” said Wenger, who uncharacteristically did not attend the post-match news conference. “It's over after 20 minutes and it's a long game after that.”
Manchester City climbed above Arsenal into third place with a 5-0 victory over Fulham, while second-place Liverpool won 6-3 at Cardiff. It leaves Chelsea four points ahead having played one more than Liverpool and three more than City, which is six adrift.
Far from the title race is Manchester United, which remains seventh despite Rooney scoring twice — the first a volley from the halfway line — in a 2-0 victory at West Ham.
The bottom three remains unchanged with Fulham in last place behind Cardiff and Sunderland, which lost 2-0 at Norwich after conceding goals from Robert Snodgrass and Alexander Tettey. Hull surged eight points clear of danger after Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic clinched a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Everton moved ahead of Tottenham into fifth after Ross Barkley's header secured a 3-2 victory over Swansea, and Newcastle climbed to eighth by defeating Crystal Palace 1-0 after Papiss Cisse scored in stoppage time.
Chelsea raced in front at Stamford Bridge, with Andre Schuerrle setting up Samuel Eto'o to curl in the opener in the fifth minute and then scoring himself two minutes later to complete another rapid break.