Wenger keen to prove worth

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal's Capital One Cup tie with Chelsea can prove they have serious title ambitions too.

Last Updated: 29/10/13 at 06:33 Post Comment

Wenger: Ready for Arsenal to make a title push

Wenger: Ready for Arsenal to make a title push

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's Capital One Cup fourth-round tie with Chelsea is an opportunity for the Gunners to prove their Barclays Premier League title ambitions are serious.

Arsenal are searching to end their eight-year trophy drought and hold a two-point lead over second-placed Chelsea in the Premier League standings ahead of Tuesday night's League Cup contest at the Emirates Stadium.

Some have attributed the Gunners' lead to a favourable fixture list, with the opening day loss to Aston Villa followed by seven wins in an eight-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

"We haven't won the title for a few years and people question that now," Wenger said.

"At the end of the day, the Premier League will reflect the quality of the performances of the team throughout the season and how well you do in the big games.

"This is a good opportunity for us to show we are ready."

Wenger is uncertain if the League Cup clash will have an impact on the Premier League and is unconcerned by the opinion of those who believe his side will be overhauled at the top of the standings.

"I'm not sure it will affect the Premier League at all, but you know people will look at you, how you behave and whether you can win the big games like that," Wenger said.

"What is for sure is you that you want to win these sort of games.

"That has a certain psychological influence on the team.

"What we want to do is to show that we want to be considered as a very strong team and that comes only with the way we play and with the results, so let's just focus on that.

"We will absolutely go for this game."

The match pits Wenger against old adversary Jose Mourinho for the first time since the Portuguese returned to English football.

Wenger endured a difficult relationship with Mourinho during his first spell.

"It was not a big surprise because there was talk about it many times," the Frenchman said.

"When he left Madrid, it looked to be one of his best opportunities to come back."

The last time the pair crossed swords in the League Cup was in the 2007 final, which Mourinho's Chelsea won 2-1 with two goals from Didier Drogba.

Wenger added: "We scored first but after that - we had decided to go with a very young team - Chelsea's experience took over and made the difference.

"Chelsea had a fantastic team but the quality of our performance on the day was fantastic too.

"Overall, we went to the final with the young players, it was a completely young team and that shows how the competition has changed because nowadays that would not be possible anymore.

"It is impossible today, because all the teams in the Premier League are too strong to do that."

Mourinho has promised wholesale changes for a fixture which comes with just 24 hours rest following Sunday's defeat of Manchester City.

Wenger also plans to make changes and utilise his squad.

"The team will be a mixture, with some players who are at the moment not getting the games they need and deserve, and also one or two young players," Wenger said.

"I have to get that mixture right and I will leave myself until tomorrow to decide how I do that."

Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner could make his first Arsenal start since March 2011 following loan spells at Sunderland and Juventus. Bendtner was close to exiting Arsenal in the summer.

"Nicklas has been away for a lot of time and he was half - when I say half I mean 80 per cent - out of the club," Wenger said.

"In the end he decided to stay and I stopped him from going.

"I must say, he responded in a positive way and that is what we want from him now.

"I believe he is physically ready, a very good player and if his concentration is 100 per cent to commit himself to the cause he will be a great asset for us. But that is what you want from him in this game."


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