Arsenal go top, Mourinho off as Chelsea lose
Arsenal took over at the Premier League summit on Saturday (Oct 24), while Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands as his side crashed to defeat at West Ham United.
Buoyed by their mid-week win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Arsenal defeated Everton 2-1 to usurp previous leaders Manchester City, who visit Manchester United on Sunday in the Manchester derby. But floundering champions Chelsea were left 11 points off the pace in 15th place after Mourinho, his assistant Silvino Louro and midfielder Nemanja Matic were dismissed in a 2-1 loss at Upton Park.
“When you win such a big game like they did on Tuesday (against Bayern), it shows a lot about the mentality of your team,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “That’s why I’m very proud of my team because they’ve shown the ability to refocus.
“We lost our first game of the season at the Emirates (against West Ham) and no one would say we would be top of the table after that.”
Since the start of the month Arsenal have been a team transformed, beating United and Watford 3-0 before brilliantly overcoming Bayern, and they have now won four successive games in the league. They took control of the game at a rain-lashed Emirates Stadium with two headers in two first-half minutes by France internationals Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny.
Giroud, preferred to Theo Walcott, flicked Mesut Ozil’s in-swinging cross past Tim Howard in the 36th minute before Koscielny stole in at the near post to convert a left-wing free-kick by Santi Cazorla. Everton midfielder Ross Barkley replied before half-time with a shot that took a hefty deflection off Arsenal defender Gabriel. After Giroud had hit the woodwork, Romelu Lukaku skimmed the bar with a header, but Everton could not find an equaliser and had Gareth Barry sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.
Victory lifted Arsenal above West Ham after the east London club had provisionally climbed to second place by beating Chelsea, who have already lost five times in 10 league games.
Mourinho was banished from the touchline by referee Jon Moss at half-time after Mauro Zarate had drilled West Ham ahead from a 17th-minute corner and Matic had been sent off for two bookable offences. Reports suggested he had tried to enter the match officials’ changing room.
Chelsea were also aggrieved that Cesc Fabregas had had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, while Kurt Zouma came within millimetres of scoring with a header that was smuggled off the line by Manuel Lanzini. Louro was banished from the touchline for protesting against Matic’s dismissal and although Gary Cahill equalised early in the second half, West Ham substitute Andy Carroll headed in a 79th-minute winner.
Mourinho blanked the media after the game, but Cahill told the BBC: “Last season we weren’t used to it. The lads are devastated. You’re left scratching your head sometimes.
“We worked really hard at 10 men and had the majority of the play in the second half. It’s a summary of our season at the minute.”
Mourinho may now risk a stadium ban, having been handed a suspended one-game ban by the Football Association last week for accusing the referee of being “afraid” during his side’s recent 3-1 home defeat by Southampton. Chelsea could also be punished for failing to fulfil their post-match media duties.
Slaven Bilic’s West Ham, now unbeaten in seven league games, finished the day in third place.
Elsewhere, Jamie Vardy became the eighth player to score in seven successive Premier League games as Leicester City beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to move up to fifth place, four points clear of sixth-place Palace.
Andre Ayew increased the pressure on beleaguered Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood with an 87th-minute goal that earned Swansea City a 2-1 win at Villa Park. Ayew’s younger brother Jordan had headed Villa ahead in the 62nd minute, but Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised six minutes later with a fine 25-yard free-kick before Ayew the elder struck at the death.
Defeat meant that Villa remain second from bottom, four points from safety, with only four points from 10 games.
“Am I going to be in the job next week? I’m not the person to ask,” Sherwood said. “I feel like the club is in a hole.”
Captain Troy Deeney and Almen Abdi scored as Watford won 2-0 at Stoke City, while Salomon Rondon’s header earned West Bromwich Albion a 1-0 victory at Norwich City.
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