BY: BISI DOSUMU
Arsene Wenger is looking to avoid what would be considered a ‘dirty dozen’ against arch-nemesis Jose Mourinho when Chelsea and Arsenal meet on Sunday.
The humiliation of Arsenal’s last trip to Stamford Bridge as well as Wenger’s winless record against Mourinho are the major talking points ahead of Sunday’s London derby at Chelsea.
It is well documented how these managers have met 11 times, with Mourinho winning on six occasions and the other five ending in draws.
The most notable one was the last meeting – Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge. It ended in disgrace for the long-time Gunners boss as Chelsea put six past their rivals for the first time in a 6-0 rout.
“6-0 is once every 50 years, it’s not year after year,” Mourinho told Chelsea’s official website. “It’s something that happens occasionally. And me against Arsene Wenger? I never had the pleasure to play one against one against him – beach soccer or something – I never had that pleasure.
“It was always between Chelsea and Arsenal, and even that doesn’t play an important part in Sunday’s game. It’s isolated, out of context. What happened in the past, happened in the past. This is another match.”
Wenger’s side finished with 10 men in a match in which they were two goals down after seven minutes and three down after 17. He is using that result as motivation for this trip to West London.
“It was not a bad day, it was a horrendous day for us!” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website. “We are hugely determined and have a big hunger to put that right on Sunday. We have an opportunity to do it and I am confident that we will take the chance.”
This match will also be the first for Cesc Fabregas against the club he played for between 2003-11 before leaving for Barcelona. Fabregas has made an immediate impact with the Blues, completing 415 passes and recording six assists to lead the Premier League.
Many of his assists have come to Spanish teammate Diego Costa, who leads the league with eight goals and will be available after he went 90 minutes in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory at Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League. Mourinho has been careful with the talismanic striker due to a hamstring injury, but has revealed that Costa is fit enough to play for the third time in nine days.
“He had the match in Lisbon, he will have had these four days in between, and so he will be in an OK condition,” Mourinho said.
The boss has ruled out Didier Drogba and Ramires for the league leaders, who have 16 points – including all nine at home so far.
These are the league’s only remaining unbeaten sides. Arsenal are in the familiar position of fourth on 10 points, and enjoyed a 4-1 victory over Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Danny Welbeck scored an electrifying hat trick that Wenger hopes will carry into his form in the league, where the forward has tallied once in three games with the Gunners.
”Hopefully the hat trick will help him gain confidence,” Wenger said. “It is not just his finishing because he wants to help the team. His team play is good as well, his teamwork and work-rate. I believe that, technically, he is very sound, a good passer of the ball.”
Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey remain out for the Gunners while Nacho Monreal is in doubt due to a back injury.