There has been much talk about Arsene Wenger’s woeful record against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea sides, despite both managers saying that games are won on the day, not by the history books. As Mourinho himself said: ‘I am not proud of my record against Arsenal. For me achievement is to win on Sunday, it is not the other 12 matches against Arsenal. I don’t’ look to numbers and what I did against a manager or a club.’
‘I think my players don’t even know about this record unless they watch TV in the last few days or read the papers. Matches are isolated events with no relationship with the previous one and I don’t think they care about it. What they care about is the way we work and the way we prepare ourselves for the game.’
Mourinho has also revealed that he will have Didier Drogba and the rookie U21 striker Dominic Solanke in the squad for Sunday, which should make it a little easier on the Arsenal defence, who have only conceded five goals in their current nine-game winning run.
Wenger believes that beating Chelsea is just another hurdle to be jumped for his team, after winning at the Etihad and Old Trafford this year. “Beating Chelsea is another target that we have set ourselves and it is in front of us, so what we want is to go into it with the needed belief, hunger and desire,” Le Prof said on Arsenal.com.
“They had a strong start to the season, they were consistent and are the team who have lost fewer games than everybody else,” he added. “That’s why they are where they are but they made the difference at the start of the season.
“I don’t think that they have taken more points than us since January but from September to January they did. They have been consistent throughout and they relied on a strong defensive record that got them the championship.
“Having said that, it’s not over and we have to fight until the end to get as close as possible. You never know. We have to continue to believe that we can get closer and closer, and we have that opportunity on Sunday.”
Chelsea may not even be bothered if they lose this game, as they still have five more easier games to get the two wins they need to win the League, but Wenger feels that a win is very important for Arsenal. “We have three main targets,” Wenger concludes. “The first is to solidify our position in the league. We are in second place at the moment and we can make this position stronger.
“The second target is of course to keep our run going. The third target is to get closer to Chelsea before the end of the season. When you have an opportunity like that, you want to take it.
“We dropped points at the start of the season but since January we have been top of the [form] table. We have an opportunity to show that improvement is consistent.”
No one can deny that Arsenal are in fantastic form, but this is the ultimate test for the Gunners even if Chelsea have a 37 year-old as their main striker. We MUST win to keep our confidence running high right through to next season.
Onwards and Upwards!