LONDON (AP): Jose Mourinho’s second spell at Chelsea ended prematurely Thursday with the team in decline only seven months after the Portuguese coach won his third Premier League title with the club. Although Chelsea are only one point above the relegation zone, the 52-year-old Mourinho had been defiantly insisting he was the right man to oversee the team even as it collapsed on the field with a succession of humiliations. Mourinho’s departure, characterised by Chelsea as “mutual”, came two and a half years after his return to Stamford Bridge and only four months into a new four-year contract. The worst-ever start for a defending champion team in the Premier League was compounded on Monday by a 2-1 loss at surprise leaders Leicester. After the match, Mourinho said he was “betrayed” by his players. The personal conduct of the self-styled ‘Special One’ was also proving damaging to Chelsea, with Mourinho engaging in public spats with referees, a television-rights holder and even the club’s doctor over the last year. Chelsea are engaged in an ongoing legal battle with Dr Eva Carneiro after she was publicly criticised and then demoted following Mourinho’s opening-day outburst. Now it is Mourinho leaving Chelsea, with Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich preparing for his 10th managerial appointment since buying the team in 2003 and transforming its fortunes with a huge injection of cash. “Both Jose and the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways,” Chelsea said in a statement. STILL ON GOOD TERMS “The club wishes to make clear Jose leaves us on good terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea. His legacy at Stamford Bridge and in England has long been guaranteed and he will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge.” Throughout weeks of turmoil, Mourinho retained the support of fans who loyally chanted his name. There was no immediate announcement about a replacement ahead of tomorrow’s home match against Sunderland. “The club’s focus is now on ensuring our talented squad reaches its potential,” Chelsea said. First hired by Chelsea in 2004, the Portuguese coach ended a 50-year league-title drought and defended the trophy among other successes before losing a power struggle three years later with Abramovich. He was brought back in 2013 by Abramovich in an attempt to restore unity to the club following the divisiveness caused by the appointment of Rafa Benitez as interim manager, who was regularly jeered by fans. Mourinho presented himself as a figure transformed from the fiery character who fell out with Abramovich in 2007, but it was not long before the combativeness returned. He survived a first trophyless season back at Stamford Bridge before cruising to the title in May. “All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013,” Chelsea said. “His three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two spells make him the most successful manager in our 110-year history.”
But once Rafa Benitez’s side quickly ran out of attacking ideas and intent, the Gunners took an increasingly firm stranglehold to post their best run of league results for more than five months thanks to goals from Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil in the space of nine minutes early in the second-half.It was another tough 90 minutes to endure for Spanish manager Benitez, whose side remain in the bottom three with a single point, equalling their lowest tally after five games of a Premier League season.But England manager Gareth Southgate would have been equally frustrated watching two international hopefuls at St James’ Park, as midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was an unused substitute after his recent injury layoff, while centre-back Jamaal Lascelles failed to reappear for the second half after sustaining a thigh problem.– Emery intensity –Arsenal still clearly need time to acclimatise to the demands of new manager Emery following the end of Arsene Wenger’s near 22-year reign, but they secured victory with enough to spare to suggest they are heading in the right direction under the 46-year-old Spaniard, who himself put in a fair shift while patrolling his technical area with the kind of high-intensity effort he wants from his players out on the pitch.Following further supporter protests against the Newcastle owner Mike Ashley outside the ground prior to kick-off, Benitez’s side failed to make the most of their early dominance.Once again, Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech looked ill at ease with the ball at his feet in his new ‘sweeper-keeper’ role, with questions very much remaining over the Arsenal skipper’s ability to play out from the back.In mitigation, Cech saved well from Jacob Murphy’s header midway through the first half, but the home team fell away and were undone by two fine finishes shortly after the interval.Xhaka broke the deadlock with a sublime 49th-minute free-kick which found the top corner after Federico Fernandez had fouled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 25 yards from goal.Former Germany international midfielder Ozil, whose influence grew as the contest wore on, settled matters just before the hour, side-footing home from the edge of the area after Alexandre Lacazette’s initial shot was blocked by Fernandez.Newcastle famously fought back from four goals down at half-time to earn a 4-4 draw against the Gunners here seven years ago, but there was never remotely a suggestion they could overturn half that deficit.Defender Ciaran Clark did reduce the arrears with a header from Fernandez’s injury-time cross, but it failed to prevent Emery’s side gaining further momentum as Arsenal secured back-to-back league away wins for the first time in 16 months.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka opens the scoring with a free-kick in a 2-1 win at Newcastle on Saturday © AFP / Lindsey PARNABYNEWCASTLE, United Kingdom, Sep 15 – New-era Arsenal continue to be a work in progress, but they made it three straight Premier League wins under Unai Emery with a 2-1 victory at struggling Newcastle United on Saturday.It was far from pretty from the visitors, who were forced to weather an early storm from their winless hosts.