Arsenal are not intimidated by Chelsea and are ready to seize their title, says Arsene Wenger

Gunners manager believes the stability of his squad is an added advantage going into the new season

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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger has said that Arsenal are finally in a position to end Chelsea’s reign as Premier League champions, with the Gunners’ manager also dismissing claims that the Stamford Bridge club possess a mental hold over his side.

Arsenal have not won the title since 2004 – the year Jose Mourinho arrived in London – but Wenger, who has never beaten his Chelsea rival, said: “We don’t have that [a mental weakness]. You [the media] created that. I don’t believe in that. When you have a good enough team, you beat them.

“Chelsea have lost against weaker opponents than us. Our heaviest defeat last season was 2-0. It was against Chelsea but we have reduced the gap and I believe we are ready to go further.”

As he prepares for his 20th season at Arsenal, Wenger, 65, who was abused by some of the club’s fans at Stoke last season after a 3-2 defeat, said that any thoughts he had about quitting “lasted about five seconds”. He pledged to carry on at the Emirates as long as his enthusiasm held out.

 

He admitted that he had discussed retirement with Sir Alex Ferguson and while his old sparring partner was perfectly happy outside football, the Arsenal manager said he would probably feel differently. He joked: “He has horses, I have no horses.”

Wenger, whose contract expires in 2017, said: “Enthusiasm is not a problem, honestly. I am more committed than ever. I just think that the number of times you have done it doesn’t count. It is how much you love what you do that counts.”

Wenger, who last month signed Petr Cech from Chelsea, said an added advantage for Arsenal heading into the season was the stability of the squad. “Before, I was exposed to the question of who will go,” he said. “Now, the question I get more is: ‘who will come?’

“That means our potential in the market is a bit changed. You ask me: ‘Will we win the Premier League?’ We will give it everything.”