Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal to restore some pride after last season’s 6-0 defeat by Chelsea when the sides meet again in the Barclays Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
In the Frenchman’s 1,000th game at the helm last March, Chelsea ran riot in west London, surging four goals up inside 42 minutes before netting twice more past 10-man Arsenal.
It extended Wenger’s disappointing record against Blues manager Jose Mourinho and ranks as arguably one of the worst days in his 18-year tenure at the club.
In 11 matches against sides managed by the Portuguese, Wenger has lost six and drawn five, but the Arsenal manager is keen to make amends for last season’s defeat as he prepares to face the BPL leaders in a contest between the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the league this season.
“It was not a bad day, it was a horrendous day for us and we never forget that day,” Wenger said in Friday’s media conference. “We have an opportunity to put it right and of course are hugely determined, with a big hunger, to put that right.
“I’m confident we’ll take the chance to do it. Football is not made of history, football is made of performance.”
Wenger could welcome back Nacho Monreal from injury and into a defence that will likely need to keep a close eye on Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
The Spain international has adapted brilliantly to life in England’s top flight and has eight goals to his name after six BPL appearances, with Wenger wary of a forward he feels boasts a ruthless killer touch.
“I’m impressed by how well has done and he has all the aspects of a striker you like,” the 64-year-old added. “He has a killer determination. You feel, ‘he’s a killer this guy’. He has that in him.”
Mourinho, who will be without Didier Drogba (ankle) and Ramires (groin), is not reading too much into last season’s result and is also not convinced his record against Wenger is worth paying much attention to.
“The 6-0 is once every 50 years, it is not year after year,” he said. “It’s something that happens occasionally, it’s once in a life, it’s not normal.
“Chelsea versus Arsenal is normally close, it happened once. A bad day for them, an unbelievable day for us.
“Me against Wenger…I never had the chance to play one-on-one. Not even beach soccer or anything. I never had the pleasure, it was always Chelsea versus Arsenal. Even that doesn’t play an important part in Sunday’s game.”
Chelsea (from): Cech, Courtois, Schwarzer, Ake, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Christensen, Filipe, Ivanovic, Terry, Zouma, Fabregas, Hazard, Matic, Mikel, Oscar, Salah, Willian, Costa, Remy, Schurrle.
Arsenal (from): Martinez, Ospina, Szczesny, Chambers, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Diaby, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Rosicky, Wilshere, Alexis, Campbell, Podolski, Welbeck.