Andre Schurrle Offers Timely Reminder for Chelsea with Key Role in Arsenal Rout

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2014

Chelsea's Andre Schuerrle, right celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides second goal during their English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, March 22,  2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

STAMFORD BRIDGE, LONDON — It should have been a day to remember for Arsene Wenger, but thanks to Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, it soon turned into one he will want to forget. And quick.

Wenger was celebrating his 1,000th game as Arsenal manager, but it seemed someone forgot to inform his players of the significance of the occasion. They were blown away with worrying ease at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea got back to winning ways with an awesome 6-0 victory.

It was ruthless display from the Blues and one their manager has been craving for much of the campaign. They punished Arsenal at every opportunity and by 20 minutes, with the score at 3-0 and the Gunners down to 10 men, the game was beyond the visitors' reach.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Whereas Wenger will be criticized for his team selection and tactics—notably leaving Mathieu Flamini on the bench—Mourinho executed his game plan perfectly.

The selection of Andre Schurrle may have been forced upon him after Willian's dismissal against Aston Villa last week, but it proved a major contributing factor.

Forced or not, the German's performance spoke volumes for the strength in depth of Chelsea's squad, and he put in his finest display yet since arriving in West London last summer.

"I know what Schurrle can do," said Mourinho in his post-match press conference when Bleacher Report asked if he expected his No. 14 to be so influential. "For good and for bad. I know exactly what he can do.

"This first season (in English football) is for him to develop and adapt to the Premier League, to adapt to me and the way that I want the team to play. We know the player he can be, if he keeps his good qualities and he improves."

On this evidence, Schurrle is going to be quite the player.

Chelsea fans may have bemoaned the sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United in January, yet those looking for proof of the wisdom in giving players such as Schurrle an opportunity ahead of him would have had very little to argue against Arsenal.

Mourinho remains undefeated against Wenger in 11 games now—his record stands at six wins, five draws—and it comes on the back of the intensity and desire his team showed.

Schurrle was the driving force of an attack that harassed and harried Arsenal in the opening exchanges, giving them little time to breathe.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal fails to stop Andre Schurrle of Chelsea scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on March 22, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

He first earned an assist for Samuel Eto'o's opening goal on five minutes before scoring himself just two minutes later with a low drive that fooled Wojciech Szczesny.

Schurrle worked the flanks expertly throughout the game and when Mohamed Salah was introduced on 66 minutes in place of Oscar, it was a demonstration of where this team is headed.

Two wingers and Eden Hazard through the middle—there aren't many defences who won't be overwhelmed by that combination.

"Today was a really good performance (from Schurrle) and he already had a couple of them (for Chelsea)," Mourinho continued. "He played well in Istanbul and he played very well against Fulham. Step by step he is improving."

As are Chelsea. With the title race narrowing, this 6-0 victory puts them as favorites, and while Mourinho continues to suggest otherwise, Schurrle has reminded us of why.

As for Arsenal, they must surely now have to wait another year before getting their hands on the trophy they last won in 2004.

What does Arsene Wenger make of it all? Well, we don't know for certain as he opted out of his post-match press conference with the print media. Then again, words were not needed to sum up just how poor his team were.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes