By Joe Brewin
Arsène Wenger admits the London derby at Stamford Bridge will be a yardstick for his team’s progress this season.
After a disappointing start to the campaign the Gunners have won seven of their last eight matches to climb the Premier League table.
Wenger believes Saturday’s game against Chelsea will tell him how far his revitalised side has come - and he is relishing the challenge.
“First of all a win would of course install us among the top teams in the league,” he said. “But what is very important is that it would strengthen the belief inside the team and would continue our progress.
“I feel we are getting stronger and Chelsea is a big test - a test of strength, a test of resolve, a test of commitment - and that is what we expect tomorrow.”
Arsenal’s last trip to a top-four club ended with a 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford. Last week Manchester United were humbled 6-1 by Manchester City on the same ground but Wenger is reading nothing into either result.
“Big results have no meaning in football because it is always explained by special circumstances,” he said.
“Manchester United conceded two goals in the last two minutes. We conceded four goals in the last 20 minutes when we were down to 10 men and had played three days earlier at Udinese.
“When you're down to 10 men do you say 'OK we concede as little as possible' or do you continue chase the game knowing that you run the risk of conceding more goals?
“Manchester City had maybe seven shots on target, they scored six goals - that would happen once in five years.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 28 Oct 2011