Arsene not underestimating Blues
Arsene not underestimating Blues

Arsene Wenger is expecting Arsenal to face a major challenge when they take on Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.

The reigning Premier League champions sacked their manager Jose Mourinho and have struggled in the Premier League all season.

The Blues go into the weekend round of matches, with interim manager Guss Hiddink in charge, in fourteenth place in the Premier League table.

That is just four points above the relegation places and nineteen points behind the Gunners.

“It will be an intense game, as usual what you get in the Premier League,”Wenger said. “Overall I think, because of the quality of the players on the pitch and because of what is at stake for both teams, it will be a very intense battle, no matter who sits on the bench.

I rate [Hiddink] highly as a very strong manager with an exceptional career. He alternated between club and country but he’s one of the leading managers who represented the Dutch philosophy and exported it across Europe.”

Wenger believes that Chelsea have too much quality to be dragged into the relegation fight.

“If you are looking purely at the mathematics [they could be relegated] but the team has too much potential,” Wenger said.

Nobody can predict this. The confidence can go quickly and for them the bad luck is that the league is more difficult for everybody. Once you lack a bit of confidence it can happen to anyone.

The lack of confidence is linked with one or two unexpected bad results. The confidence in our job goes quickly, maybe quicker than ever because the pressure from the environment and the media is bigger than ever so you suffer a bit quicker than before.

They are not in this title race but [look at] the quality of their team. I think this season there have been exceptional circumstances for them and they will be back – I consider them direct rivals.”