Ahead of the all important clash with Chelsea on Sunday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appeared relaxed and confident during the press conference at the Emirates. Addressing a variety of topics, he was also in the mood to joke around. This might just be to put on a brave face however, since the pressure on the Frenchman is immense.
The last time Arsenal travelled to Stamford Bridge was in the second part of the previous season. That match was a fiasco, to put it politely. We lost 6-0, never looked like threatening the Blues, and to add insult to injury had Kieran Gibbs sent off for a handball committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Wenger referenced that match as well during the press conference. Here are some of the key points as he speaks about the importance of the Chelsea game:
Our performance will be vital and I believe that it’s important to focus and concentrate on our work rate and how we play. I work for my club and I want them and our fans to be happy after the game. That’s nothing to do with individual confrontation.
The most important thing is to be at the level we want to be on Sunday. Chelsea are very good defensively. Chelsea won the Champions League with good defensive stability. They have one of the best defensive records in England.
We will never forget last year at Chelsea and we have an opportunity to put it right. We have a big hunger to put that right. Last year’s slow start exposed us to counter-attacks. It was a very bad memory but football is not made of history, it’s performance. We want to go to Chelsea to win. The fact they are six points ahead makes that desire even bigger.
We are both still unbeaten but I feel we have had a more difficult run than them. It’s a vital game for us to stay in the race.
It is a vital game for the Gunners, not just in terms of the title race but also about the confidence levels in the squad. Arsenal have had a sluggish start to the season, drawing four league games and losing to Southampton in the League Cup. The midweek win against Galatasaray gave the team some much needed confidence, and by beating Chelsea at the Bridge, we can get a boost for the whole season.
In signing off, Wenger decided to depart on a lighter note:
What do you need to do differently on Sunday?
Score more than six goals!
If the Gunners do manage to do that against Jose Mourinho’s superbly drilled men, it will be a game to remember. Either way, we do need a positive result against the Blues. Not only will it reduce the large points deficit between the teams, it will give everyone at the club a nice morale boost before the international break.