By Chris Harris

Cesc Fabregas has described Sunday's encounter with Chelsea as a game Arsenal "have to win".

The captain is currently preparing for Tuesday night's Champions League fixture with Standard Liege but, once that is out of the way, the countdown will begin to arguably the biggest game of the season so far.

Arsenal's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland on Saturday - and Chelsea's 4-0 win over Wolves - left Arsène Wenger's team in third place, eight points behind the Blues with a game in hand.

Defeat at Emirates Stadium next weekend would leave Fabregas and co with an uphill task in the title race and the Spanish midfielder is under no illusions about the magnitude of their next London derby.

"The Chelsea game is vital," said Fabregas. "We have to win and we are ready for it.

"Chelsea are a great team, one of the best in Europe. They are very strong. They have been playing together a long time, you can see that on the pitch.

"I respect them a lot because they are a great team with great players but I know what we can do and if we play well and we are at our best we can beat them and with a game in hand we can still be there.

"First of all we think about tomorrow [against Standard Liege] and then Chelsea but it's an important week for us definitely."

Copyright 2014 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 23 Nov 2009