Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger expects a response from his side against Chelsea FC and insisted that the game is not about Wenger versus Mourinho.
Arsenal will look to bounce back from the disappointment at the Etihad stadium last weekend as they welcome Chelsea in what is expected to be a thrilling encounter. Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table has been reduced to just two points and they will require a positive result in this game in order to dismiss all the doubts that have crept in after the 6-3 hammering at the hands of Manchester City. The Gunners’ last win in this derby came back in 2011 when Robin van Persie scored a memorable hattrick, but Chelsea have been on the top since. The Blues have won their last three meetings against Arsenal and will look to take the lead in the title race with a win in this game.
Jose Mourinho, who returned at the helm of Chelsea this summer, has a wonderful record against Arsene Wenger and is yet to lose in nine meetings. But Arsene Wenger refused to see this as a clash between the two high profile managers and disclosed his respect for Mourinho and what he has achieved with the club in the past.
“It’s not a personal battle [with Jose Mourinho]
“Honestly, we had some big games in the past, but what is important for me is that I am completely focused on Arsenal Football Club and on my team and doing well in the team.
“Whether we play Monday night against Chelsea or anybody else, for me it’s exactly the same, because what is at stake for us is to get back to winning habits, whether it’s Chelsea or anyone else.
“They [Chelsea] were fantastic teams and he is a good manager. That together makes it difficult.
“I think we were close many times. Let’s not forget that when we won the championship in 2004, Chelsea finished second and we had an unbeaten record. At the time, Ranieri was the manager and they finished second.
“Mourinho came in and they bought Drogba, Carvalho and they were even stronger. He is as well a very good manager. They had a fantastic period.
“Our relationship is respectful. We spent time [together] at Geneva at the managers’ meeting.
“Once you are in competition it is different. Once you are out of competition, everybody is different. Here is competition time so everybody fights for his team and his club.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Arsenal have failed to win their last three games and have from defeats against Napoli and Manchester City, but Arsene Wenger insists that despite of these poor results the morale of the camp has not been affected. Wenger also believes that there were few positives in the loss against Manchester City.
“They [recent results] have been disappointing for us. But I don’t think they have affected the morale.
“We have made good results until now because we have a good solidarity level and a good togetherness in the squad, and I don’t see any sign of that dropping.
“I think even more that the players are focused to respond on Monday night. It can happen in a season when sometimes you have a bit of a weaker period. How you respond to this kind of problem is what matters.
“It [Man City] was not all negative because we could have scored six as well. On the offensive front we have shown that we have huge potential.
“I believe that we should come out of that game even stronger in our belief, even stronger in our resolute attitude, because we have shown until now that we can be very strong defensively, and as well on the day we have shown that we can be dangerous against anybody.” – He added.
Jack Wilshere has been in the news after the loss against Manchester City after a video clip caught him making a middle finger gesture towards the Manchester City fans. The England international has been banned for two matches by FA’s disciplinary committee and Arsene Wenger insists that the club will have to accept it.
“We thought the ban was one game and that’s why we appealed.
“It is two, we have to accept it and to swallow it. He was wrong in his reaction, we just thought it was a one-game ban and that’s why we appealed but we are now in a situation where we have to accept it and wait until he comes back, and focus on our next games without him.” – Wenger explained.
Wenger also stressed on the importance of a strong response against Chelsea on Monday and that a side aspiring for titles need to win the big games at home.
“We have self-belief but I can talk here – let’s show it on Monday night. What it means is that when you want to play a big part in the race for the championship, you want to win the big games at home. That is what is at stake. We want to respond in a very strong manner to our last defeat. “– Wenger said.
He also faced questions on whether it will be a busy transfer window for the Gunners, to which he replied –
“At the moment, no. But that can change.“
Arsene Wenger also expressed his surprise at the dismissal of Andre Villas Boas.
“Look, if you look purely at the mathematical problem, yes [it is a surprise]. Because he has the highest percentage rate of wins historically at the club. Is it an internal problem with his relationship with his chairman or with the board? I don’t know. Is it an emotional reaction to a big defeat at home? I hope not because that would not be a good sign. I don’t know but I was surprised, yes.” – He said.