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Wenger calls on his young Guns to learn United lesson

Arsene Wenger has challenged his young Arsenal squad not to make the same mistakes as they did in the crushing defeat to Manchester United by failing to "turn up" at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

Arsenal could blow the title race wide open with victory over Chelsea, which would move them within three points of Carlo Ancelotti's side.

However, by the same token, suffer another loss and the Gunners' championship ambitions will look to be all but over once again. Wenger's team came up short in every department against United last weekend, when the champions romped to a 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium.

The French coach, however, believes the lessons have been taken on board.

"The biggest regret I have from Manchester United is that we gave them too much freedom and allowed them to play too much in a game where we should have been dictating," Wenger said.

"My team wanted it so much that sometimes you can be a little bit restricted and our target is to get that freedom to play against Chelsea.

"I am convinced that we are capable to win everywhere in the world, but of course we need to turn up with a good performance."

Wenger added: "I believe we should be more relaxed at this time because at the start of the season nobody expected us in the top four or in the title race.

"Now, instead of being intimidated, I believe we have to really have a go because we are entitled to have it."

Wenger admitted he shared supporters' frustrations that Arsenal had been unable to bring in any fresh talent during the transfer window.

"If you look really well at the European market during January this year, very little happened.

"There was no big transfer," said Wenger, who revealed they had come close to completing a deal for an un-named player ahead of the deadline.

"That means it is impossible to find the players who walk in the street, can play at the top level and are available. You do not find that in January." Wenger, meanwhile, maintains the John Terry saga will have no bearing on tomorrow's match.

"I don't want to go into that stuff about role models that you hear everywhere. It is quite a bit tiring," said Wenger, who will give a late fitness test to combative midfielder Abou Diaby.


"We do not have to interfere with Chelsea's problems.

"I believe Chelsea will play at their best, we expect that, and that is why we just want to focus on our own performance.

"We have seen last Sunday when we do not play at our best we do not win the game and that is why the key is more on our side."

Wenger added: "It (captaincy) is over played, without a doubt.

"Maybe it has historical roots in battles, fighting.

"Traditionally in the history of England the captain certainly had a big role and a big importance.

"I like that, but team sport is linked with recent history, the 20th century. Before that, it was all fighting, and so maybe it is linked with historical roots."