Arsene Wenger keen to track Arsenal's progress in meeting with Chelsea
Published 24/09/2016 | 04:36
Arsene Wenger is keen to track the progress of his Arsenal side in Saturday's Premier League meeting with London rivals Chelsea.
The Gunners, without a championship title since 2004, finished a distant second last season but have won their last three league games following a slow start to the current campaign.
Wenger invested heavily during the transfer window to bring in Granit Xhaka, Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi to add to talent such as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Petr Cech.
The 66-year-old celebrates 20 years at the Arsenal helm next week but has not tasted Premier League victory over Chelsea since 2011.
He now has a good chance to address that record when the Blues visit the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening and Wenger wants to see his side show they can measure up to Antonio Conte's men.
"It is an important game for us because we feel we are on the way up and Chelsea is a good test and a good opportunity for us to continue our progress," he said.
"We feel we are progressing at the moment so we have a good opportunity to grab and to change what I call 'the inconvenient facts' of the recent years.
"I would like to think that we have improved and that's what we have to show. Last year we finished second in the league and the first team was Leicester.
"We have narrowed the distance between us and all the other teams but it's a new start. It's a new opportunity for everybody and we have to show that we can continue our progress."
Chelsea started the season well under Conte but were held to a draw at Swansea before losing at home to Liverpool last Friday.
The Italian wants to see a reaction from his players, even if he knows they face another difficult battle to beat Arsenal.
"This is a big game between two big rivals," he said.
"It's important to play a good game, above all after our defeat against Liverpool. But we know that we'll face a team, a good team, a big rival.
"I'm sure that Arsenal will fight until the end to win the title because they're a very good team, (with) young players, great technique, good players with good physical potential and organisation.
"When there are these types of games, they're very tough. It's not necessary to push any player. These big games give great emotion and great expectation. For this reason the players are already motivated."