No one has quite worked out yet what it takes to overshadow Jose Mourinho, but on a weird and wild Saturday afternoon not even the season's most inept piece of refereeing could do it.
The ludicrous officiating decision that saw Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs sent off for a handball actually committed by his teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – a case of mistaken identity – was the most bizarre subplot of a contest that saw Chelsea smash its London rival out of the English Premier League title race with a 6-0 trouncing at Stamford Bridge.
But the most important storyline was that Chelsea, riding the expensive coattails of their head coach Mourinho, remain on course for a dream season that could see them lift both the English domestic and Champions League trophies.
In Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's 1,000th game in charge of the Gunners, Mourinho couldn't resist a dig at his old rival's lack of recent success. Some saw it as tasteless, but much of what Mourinho does is divisive.
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that he is hugely entertaining.
Whether it is spicing things up verbally or railing against officials and the soccer hierarchy, he is rarely out of the spotlight. Coupled with the fact he can back things up with technical and tactical innovation, his players generally enjoy the way he takes the heat off them.
A number of factors have electrified this Premier League season and thrown it, unlike so many other campaigns, wide open. There has been the resurgence of Liverpool, the disappearance of reigning champions Manchester United and the road struggles that have stopped big-spending Manchester City from running clear.
Equally significant, though, has been the return of Mourinho, who came back to Chelsea after six years away, during which English soccer missed him, probably more so than it realized.
Mourinho is a complex man with a simple mindset that prioritizes winning above else. He has done it enough times that Chelsea is four points clear at the top of the table, although Liverpool has played one game fewer, and City, six points back, has three matches in hand.
Admittedly, Mourinho doesn't normally win like this. Saturday's rout was Chelsea's biggest Premier League victory under his watch and dealt Wenger the most lopsided defeat of his Premier League career. The Blues were just too good for Arsenal and once Samuel Eto'o and Andre Schurrle had put the home side up 2-0 after the first seven minutes, the flood gates were well open. Eden Hazard added a third from the penalty spot after 17 minutes amid the Gibbs red card debacle, and Oscar added a fourth just before halftime.
Oscar's second goal came midway through the second half as Arsenal wilted further with heads visibly dropping. Chelsea substitute Mohamed Salah rounded out the scoring after 71 minutes, just moments after being introduced by Mourinho.
Before long Mourinho had seen enough and headed down the tunnel with still a few minutes of the match remaining. Some took it as a snub against Wenger, conveniently ignoring the fact that Mourinho often takes the same approach when the result is beyond doubt.
"With Mourinho, people always find things to complain about," the Chelsea manager told the BBC.
One person not complaining is Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. The Russian oligarch demands nothing less than a dual assault on the domestic title and the European Cup and he has got it this season. With City's next two games coming against United and Arsenal, both on the road, Chelsea is justifiably installed as the bookies' favorites to win the Premier League.
"No, obviously not," Mourinho said when asked if that tag was accurate.
Don't be so sure.
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- Jose Mourinho
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