Chelsea still direct rivals for Arsenal, believes Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger In Emirates Press Conference 2

The Gunners take on their fierce rivals this weekend.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that Chelsea are still direct rivals to the Gunners.

The champions have suffered an awful season so far, with them utterly failing to defend their title and currently sitting 14th in the table.

They are just four points away from the relegation zone and it has been suggested by some, including current manager Guus Hiddink, that they are currently in a relegation battle instead.

Wenger has dismissed that notion, and instead insisted that he still considers the Blues as a direct rival to his title chasing side.

“If you are looking purely at the mathematics [they could be relegated] but the team has too much potential,” he told arsenal.com.

“Nobody can predict this. The confidence can go quickly and for them the bad luck is that the league is more difficult for everybody. Once you lack a bit of confidence it can happen to anyone.”

“They are not in this title race but [look at] the quality of their team. I think this season there have been exceptional circumstances for them and they will be back - I consider them direct rivals.”

Wenger’s point is certainly a wise one, with Chelsea likely to rise again next season after this disappointing campaign.

It looks set to be a busy summer for the side, with a new manager and an overhaul of the squad Jose Mourinho left behind looking extremely likely.

A club of Chelsea’s stature cannot survive without European football for too long either, as demonstrated by Manchester United’s fall from grace from in recent years, and they will be keen to ensure they are not missing for a lengthy period

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