By Tom Hayward
LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - Arsene Wenger described his 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal as one of the worst moments of his career after his side were humiliated 6-0 by Premier League title rivals Chelsea.
The Frenchman, who joined the Gunners from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight 18 years ago, has been widely praised for revolutionising "boring boring" Arsenal and overseeing one of the most successful periods in the club's history.
What was meant to be a day of celebration for Wenger, however, quickly turned into a nightmare as Arsenal suffered their heaviest defeat by Chelsea having been completely dominated by their rampant London rivals at Stamford Bridge.
"Yes, of course it's one of the worst days (in my career)," the 64-year-old told the BBC. "It's over after 20 minutes and it's a long game after that. You don't prepare all week to experience that kind of experience."
Arsenal equalled their heaviest margin of defeat under Wenger - an 8-2 thrashing by Manchester United in 2011 - and the Frenchman cut a disconsolate figure on the sidelines before failing to attend the post-match news conference.
But he took the blame for the loss in his television interview.
"This defeat is my fault, I take full responsibility for it," he said. "I don't think there's too much need to talk about the mistakes we made. We got a good hiding today."
So impressive against the lesser teams, Arsenal's problem this season has been against the other sides in the top four.
The Gunners have now conceded 17 goals in trips to Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, the same number they have let in in their other 27 league games this season.
The performance at Stamford Bridge was littered with mistakes which led to a number of Chelsea's goals but Wenger was reluctant to dwell on his side's inadequacies.
"It's how we respond now on Tuesday night (at home to Swansea City) and the best way is not to explain too much the mistakes," he added.
Arsenal now sit seven points behind Chelsea with a game in hand and their title chase looks forlorn. Their best hope of a first trophy for nine years is in the FA Cup where they face a semi-final against holders Wigan Athletic next month. (Editing by Ed Osmond)