Mar 22, 2014, 9:31 AM EDT
Chelsea raced into a 3-0 lead after 15 minutes at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but a bizarre mix up from the referee Andre Marriner stole the show.
Samuel Eto’o, Andre Schurrle, Eden Hazard and Oscar put Chelsea 4-0 up at half time, but the most incredible refereeing decision in recent times came in the 15th minute. A shot from Hazard was going towards the corner, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tipped the ball wide with his hand to stop a goal. Referee Marriner awarded a penalty kick to Chelsea… but then sent of Kieran Gibbs in a bizarre case of mistaken identity. As Gibbs was sent off despite protesting.
A frantic start took place in the sun at Stamford Bridge, as Arsenal pushed early on and Olivier Giroud spurned a glorious chance put them 1-0 up in the 3rd minute as Petr Cech saved his tame effort. Arsenal were made to pay for that, massively, as Chelsea then went ahead in the fourth minute as Samuel Eto’o cut inside with a beautiful turn, then curled home a left-footed shot into the far corner to make it 1-0.
Two minutes later Chelsea led 2-0, as Andre Schurrle ran at the Gunners defense and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner as Stamford Bridge erupted. But the drama was not over, not by a long shot.
In the 15th minute Eden Hazard smashed a shot towards the bottom corner that had beaten Arsenal’s ‘keeper Szczesny but out of nowhere Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived to tip the ball wide with his hand. Referee Andre Marriner spotted the handball, awarded a penalty… but sent off Kieran Gibbs in a case of mistaken identity. Arsenal’s players protested, including Oxlade-Chamberlain who told the referee it was him but Gibbs was still given his marching orders in one of the most bizarre dismissals in Premier League history.
Eden Hazard converted the penalty kick to make it 3-0 to the Blues after 16 minutes, as Arsenal were down to 10-men and reeling from a remarkable opening few minutes at Stamford Bridge. Then Oscar scored just before the break to make it a rout… with 45 minutes left.
Can the Gunners fight back? Or will Chelsea extend their lead and pile the misery on Arsenal?
- WATCH: Premier League live online via NBC Sports Live Extra – Week 34 0
- Watch Live: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Lineups and Live Stream) 0
- Premier League Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool 0
- SportsWorld: Jose Fonte talks playing with Ronaldo, shares thoughts on MLS 0
- Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Time for the underdogs to shine 0
- WATCH: NBC Sports’ Premier League TV schedule – Week 34 0