Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, their 2 - 0 defeat to Chelsea was almost inevitable.
In what was this season's first trip to one of last season's top four, Arsene Wenger's men stuck to a script that has gone from scary, to shocking to no-longer surprising for their frustrated fans.
Although Arsenal's performance was an improvement on what the away contingent were subjected to last time the two sides met at Stamford Bridge, the result meant yet another loss to a fellow top four side.
Arsene Wenger is now without a win in 14 Premier League games against the teams also competing in that season’s Champions League, (the previous season’s top four). Seven of those games have been draws, eight were losses.
In the 10 years since Arsenal made history by lifting the league title while remaining unbeaten for a full season, the Gunners have faced fellow top four teams 62 times. They’ve won just 15 of those games, drawn 19 and, thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa this afternoon, lost 28.
Arsenal’s current barren run against top four opposition is the longest in Arsene Wenger’s time at the club, although it should be noted that last season his team did record a 2-0 win over Liverpool (who eventually finished second).
Chelsea’s victory, which leaves them top of the table, nine points ahead of Arsenal and five points clear of second-placed Man City, also drew attention to Wenger’s poor record against opposite number Jose Mourinho.
In 12 meetings in all competitions, the Frenchman is still without a win against the rival who tested his temper this afternoon. Mourinho has won seven, drawn five and lost none.
As manager of Chelsea the self-proclaimed “happy/special one” has won 13 games against fellow top four sides in 27 meetings. Despite leaving the Premier League for five years and managing in 35 fewer games against top sides since 2004, Mourinho is just two wins behind Wenger.
In the four full seasons in which they’ve both been managing in the Premier League, only once has Wenger notched a better record in fixtures against their immediate rivals.
While Arsenal fans may be somewhat encouraged that they at least avoided another ravaging defeat today, the larger context of their side’s record in the big games is showing no signs of improvement.
In fact, in the previous two seasons, Arsenal have recorded their lowest average points-per-game in fixtures against sides also competing in the Champions League.
Last season, Arsenal averaged half a point per game, after drawing with Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea at home, but losing to all three on the road (at an aggregate score of 13 - 3). The previous campaign averaged 0.3 points-per-game, with just two draws in six games against the same three sides.
The low average can be explained by the fact that Arsenal have failed to win against any of their fellow Champions League competitors in the last two seasons, despite averaging around two wins a season in the eight years prior.
And to add yet another depressing statistic to a game that has produced many for the Arsenal faithful, defeat meant that the North Londoners have had their worst start to a season after seven games in the Wenger era:
3 worst starts under Wenger after 7 games 1998-99 10 points GD +3, 2014-15 10 pts GD +2, 2011-12 7 pts GD -6— Orbinho (@Orbinho) October 5, 2014