Arsenal and Chelsea meet for the first time this season later today, and it’s as exciting as ever to witness a battle between two teams who genuinely really dislike each other.
Things may have calmed down slightly due to the fact that it’ll be Antonio Conte, not Jose Mourinho, that Arsene Wenger faces in the opposition dug-out this evening, but while their personal hatred of each other has helped make this rivalry what it is, the ill feeling runs deeper.
You’re unlikely to find two clubs more different from each other; in terms of personnel, philosophy, and conduct, and that is evident among the fans, the players and the ownership.
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And as these five most heated moments of this fixture’s recent history shows, there will still be some personal duels on the pitch today, even if Mourinho’s not about to wind Wenger up.
Here’s a look at five times Arsenal vs Chelsea broke the internet…
Diego Costa vs Gabriel
This one will be fresh in the memory as Diego Costa and Gabriel came to blows in last season’s clash in September, in an incident widely viewed as the Chelsea striker deliberately getting the Arsenal defender sent off.
Costa, not once, but twice provoked the Brazilian into a reaction, first by shoving his team-mate Laurent Koscielny to the ground for no apparent reason, and then by continuing to taunt Gabriel before he lost his temper and received a second yellow just moments after his first.
Arsenal fans were understandably fuming all over social media as they once again felt they were on the wrong end of justice in this fixture.
John Terry’s slip
A hate figure among Arsenal fans, nothing gave them more pleasure than seeing John Terry slip at the crucial moment to hand a goal to Robin van Persie and victory to Arsenal back in 2011.
With the game tied at 3-3 with around five minutes to go, Terry made a mess of a simple pass back towards him, falling over despite no one being anywhere near him. Van Persie then took full advantage to run onto the loose ball, round Petr Cech, and slot it home to make it 4-3.
The Dutchman sealed it with another strike in stoppage time, but as the various tweets and memes from that day will show you, Arsenal fans are in no doubt that Terry’s slip was what sealed that memorable match.
The season hadn’t even got started and Wenger and Mourinho were already at it.
Many say the Community Shield is just an over-hyped friendly, but these two ensured there was nothing friendly about it at all, with Wenger deliberately snubbing a hand-shake from his opposite number at the end of the game.
Given this was Wenger’s first EVER win over the Special One, you’d think at least a small part of him would take the opportunity to gloat, but he just couldn’t even stand to be in his company for a second.
Others might call it petty behaviour, but Arsenal fans absolutely loved him for it.
Wenger shoves Mourinho
Tempers flared (again) as these sides met early on in the 2014/15 season, with Chelsea running out 2-0 winners against an Arsenal team that finished with nine men.
A challenge on Alexis Sanchez by Gary Cahill particularly angered Wenger, leading him to leave his technical area to vent his frustration at the fourth official.
Mourinho couldn’t resist stepping in, and it resulted in a push by the Frenchman on the Portuguese, with the two needing to be separated on the touch line.
These memes pretty much sum up how much the internet loved this one…
Cup final fracas
Could you ‘break the internet’ back in 2007? Technically, of course, in the days before wireless, it was quite easy – just cut the cable with a pair of scissors and your browsing days are over.
But if we’re going to be truly ‘down with the kids’ here, it’s not clear if the internet was ever *truly* broken pre-Twitter, Facebook, ‘trends’ and all that jazz. Do heated debates and ranting on fan forums really count?
Still, if any game back then got online viewers going it would have had to be this one, with the Carling Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea needing 11 (ELEVEN) minutes of stoppage time after a serious on-pitch melee at the end that saw three players sent off.
Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor received their marching orders for Arsenal, while John Obi Mikel also saw red for Chelsea, in a scuffle that – of course – saw Mourinho and Wenger enter the pitch. Great times.