Arsene Wenger stated the obvious when he was asked how we can beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2011.
“Score more goals than Chelsea,” was the manager’s reply at his pre-match press conference.
That’s easier said than done of course, but Wenger is certain we have the self-belief to reignite our title challenge on Saturday.
“Yes, of course,” he said. “Why not? If you look at our recent record, we have played some fantastic games. Even on Tuesday night, we did not have a disastrous performance, we just missed the first 10 or 15 minutes but after that we produced a decent performance and could have come back.
“I don’t know [if a defeat means our title challenge is over], but in a press conference you always have to deal with the ‘ifs’ and the consequences.
“I believe what’s most important is that we turn up with a positive performance. We have shown in the first game [this season] that we can beat Chelsea so let’s turn up with the same quality and show a straight response. What is at stake is how well we respond, in a united way and in a determined way, to get there and play our game.”
Chelsea have been outstanding since a 3-0 defeat at Emirates Stadium in September and now lead the Premier League by nine points.
“When we beat them 3-0, I didn’t expect them to go 13 games unbeaten but I feel they found a better defensive balance,” said Wenger.
“They are very good in transition. I watched their game against Liverpool and N’Golo Kante had a huge impact in their team. It’s no coincidence that they are in the position that they are and Leicester were in the position they were last season.
“Eden Hazard and Diego Costa have come back to very strong form compared to last season, so they are very efficient when they go forward.
“It was a little bit of a wake-up call for them [at the Emirates] and Antonio Conte managed to change things in the right way. They benefit a little bit from the fact they are not in the Europa League or Champions League. They can prepare properly and if they want to change the system, they can work on it all week.
“That gave Conte time to prepare, to know the players better, and that certainly helped. The integration of N’Golo Kante has had a huge impact.”
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