Premier League: Arsene Wenger insists nothing personal against Chelsea
Arsene Wenger insists there will be nothing personal in his bid to beat Chelsea on Monday night, live on Sky Sports 1HD.
Last Updated: 23/12/13 7:47pm
The Arsenal manager has yet to get the better of his Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho in nine previous attempts - stretching back nine years.
The Gunners will retain top spot should they emerge victorious from the game at the Emirates Stadium and Wenger knows his side will need to rediscover their best form to prevail.
"It is not a personal battle," Wenger said.
"Honestly, we had some big games in the past, but what is important for me is that I am completely focused on Arsenal Football Club and on my team and doing well in the team.
"Whether we play Monday night against Chelsea or anybody else, for me it is exactly the same, because what is at stake for us is to get back to winning habits, whether it is Chelsea or anyone else.
"Chelsea are a good side with many good promising players, many good young players.
"They have a good offensive potential as well and for us it will be important to have a good defensive focus to find our defensive stability back and to stop them going forward.
"For the rest if you look at the names of their players, in every position they have great players.
"I think we were close (to beating Chelsea) many times. Let us not forget that when we won the championship in 2004, Chelsea finished second and we had an unbeaten record.
"Mourinho came in and they bought (Didier) Drogba, (Ricardo) Carvalho and they were even stronger. He is as well a very good manager and they had a fantastic period."
Wenger maintains he has a more cordial relationship with Mourinho now than the pair enjoyed during Mourinho's first spell at Stamford Bridge.
"Once you are out of competition, everybody is different," Wenger said. "We have spent time together in Geneva at the UEFA managers' meeting.
"Here is competition time, so everybody fights for his team and his club."
Watch Arsenal take on Chelsea live on Sky Sports 1HD from 7pm, or for just £4.99 with a NOW TV day pass.