Arsene Wenger insists his Arsenal players do not lack confidence to beat their Premier League rivals as they travel to face reigning champions Chelsea on Sunday.
The Frenchman takes his team to Stamford Bridge, where they have not won since 2011 – part of a dismal recent away record against all the clubs who finished last season in the top six.
The Gunners have won only two such games out of 21 since the start of the 2013-14 season, with their last victory coming at Manchester City in January 2015 – since when their record shows five draws and eight defeats, including their current five-game losing run.
A 4-0 defeat at Liverpool before the international break continued the trend but Wenger does not believe his players will be suffering from recent history heading into Sunday’s clash.
Asked whether he feels his side lack confidence away to top-four teams he replied: “No. Look, if you look at my record you will see that I played two years in England, in the Premier League, without losing games away from home.
“Last year, until we lost at Everton, we had not lost away for the whole year. So after that, we lost at Man City after Everton, that’s true. It gave us a little bit of a problem of confidence away from home, but I don’t really believe in that.
“Never in my life could I accept or understand that it is different away from home. It’s just a question of how much you want it. No matter where you play, it’s about football and so it’s as well a good opportunity to show that we have that quality.”
Wenger was speaking after Arsenal’s chaotic Europa League win over Cologne on Thursday night – which saw both clubs hit with UEFA charges.
Kick-off was delayed for an hour as ticketless visiting fans looked to enter the Emirates Stadium but Arsenal came from behind to win with a professional display and Wenger did acknowledge a positive result was important in such a game, admitting the recent poor outing at Anfield puts more onus on a strong performance this time out.
“It is important, of course it’s very important,” he said about getting a result at a rival.
“I believe that nobody would deny that and that if you look a bit at the league you know the positions in the top four will of course be decided by the quality of the results you make against your direct opponents.
“Of course (the Liverpool performance makes this more important). But I believe that we had a bad performance at Liverpool, which I have never denied.
“That should be an even greater motivation for us to turn up with a quality performance on Sunday.
“Look, we do not look backwards too much. We know that we have analysed that well and we know that what we missed there and it’s important that we correct it.
“I believe that basically it’s focus on our performance and give 100 per cent commitment.”
Wenger made nine changes for the 3-1 win over Cologne but is likely to recall a host of first-team regulars at Stamford Bridge after the likes of Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette sat out Thursday’s victory.
Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 23:23:58 +0000