Arsene Wenger plays down Jose hoodoo and Cesc return
Arsenal will be looking to delay what seems Chelsea’s inevitable march towards the Premier League title.
The Gunners trail the Blues by 10 points going into Sunday’s match at the Emirates.
An Arsenal win would be Arsene Wenger’s first victory over Jose Mourhino.
The Special One has won seven and drawn five of the previous twelve meetings between the two.
Wenger though, as you would expect, was keen to play down a Mourinho hoodoo and said:
“We have not always lost, first of all, in 12 attempts. We have come close to beating them a few times and they’ve always had very strong teams,” he said.
“I’m not a great believer in history. I just think football is down to the fact that the performance on the day will decide the game and the result, so let’s focus on that.
“We are on a good run and we have an opportunity to beat them at home, and we want to take it. From a good run of form you get a good belief and we have good solidarity. We know we have passed many tests recently where we were questioned.
“It’s the first time we’ve won away from home against Manchester City [in a while] and other things like that. We have passed many tests and we have another test on Sunday that we want to pass.
“It is very important for us to beat them. I think everybody on board is highly focused to achieve it. We will prepare well to do that.
“Chelsea have been very, very efficient on counter-attacks, very efficient on set-pieces as well, so to nullify their strengths will be important.
“They have been very consistent until now. They are the team that have lost less games than any other team so the Premier League rewards the consistency and on that front, they have been defensively very strong and very consistent.”
To add extra spice to the match, Cesc Fabregas will return to the Emirates for the first time since his departure to Barcelona.
That he is returning in a Chelsea shirt, and is on the brink of claiming a Premier League winners medal, will make it uncomfortable viewing for Wenger and Arsenal fans.
Arsenal had first refusal on re-signing Fabregas from Chelsea, but Wenger decided not take up the option.
Wenger though has asked Arsenal fans to “respect” Fabregas on his return.
“I want every player to be respected, and for Cesc Fabregas, when he comes to the Emirates on Sunday, to be respected like he deserves.” said Wenger
Wenger added: “The regret I have is that he wanted to leave here. This club and myself had a very positive influence on Cesc’s life, so I would be a bit uncomfortable to have to justify today why he is not here.
“I believe I would rather it was the other way around. We will have to discuss (why Arsenal didn’t re-sign him) that one day. With all the terms. It’s not as clean as that.
“I cannot speak to you about that now because that will not help us to win the game on Sunday.”