Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge at Arsenal couldn’t possibly have gone worse, as the Gunners lost 6-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. It was Wenger’s heaviest defeat ever, tied with the 8-2 loss at Old Trafford in 2011, and the most lopsided defeat to Chelsea in Arsenal’s history.
But somehow, Mourinho’s party crashers were not the story after it was all said and done. No, that honor belonged to referee Andre Marriner, who perplexed us all by mistakenly sending off Kieran Gibbs for a handball committed by… teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsenal were already down 2-0 after seventeen minutes when the bizarre sequence of events occurred. Oxlade-Chamberlain “saved” a shot by Eden Hazard with his left hand, upon which Marriner dutifully pointed to the spot. However, after a brief conversation via headset with his assistant, Marriner sent off Gibbs, not the Ox. And though Oxlade-Chamberlain fessed up to Marriner that he was the actual offender, Gibbs still had to hit the showers. Bizarre!
Here is the timeline of events, as told through Twitter:
What a save by Ox-Chamberlain!— KICKTV (@KICKTV)March 22, 2014
OK, so bizarrely, Kieran Gibbs has been sent off despite the fact that he had nothing to do with the penalty. A O-C stays on…— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax)March 22, 2014
Andre Marriner all at sea with the red card. Astonishing that sport at this level could produce such a farce. Wrong player dismissed.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward)March 22, 2014
Racial Profiling is alive and well in the English Premier League— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers)March 22, 2014
This sending off is absurd. It seems clear @Alex_OxChambo admitted it was him. Why on earth would the ref ignore him?— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker)March 22, 2014
Ref: “Gibbs, you’re off!” Ox: “But ref, it was me!” Ref: “Shut up Walcott, get on with the game”— (@dshort9)March 22, 2014
Andre Marriner: “Specialist in poor observation”— Beyond the Pitch (@BeyondthePitch)March 22, 2014