Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes that London rivals Chelsea are still very much in with a say in the Premier League title race this season. The Blues, who have slumped in their title defense of late, continued a shocking winless streak at White Hart Lane Sunday afternoon.
Although Didier Drogba’s powerful strike midway through the second half brought them level against the Spurs, Carlo Ancelotti’s men failed to pick up all the three points when the Ivory Coast striker missed a penalty in stoppage time.
Speaking ahead of the kick-off in North London, Wenger suggested that he expects the Stamford Bridge outfit to return to winning ways and compete for the title the way they have been doing for the last six years.
“I don’t rule Chelsea out of the title race at the moment, at all, because they now have Essien back, they will get Lampard back, they will be a dangerous team,” Wenger told Arsenal.com in regards to the return of Chelsea’s key midfield duo.
Essien and skipper John Terry, who also seems to be back to full fitness, had a strong showing at Tottenham while talismanic play-maker Lampard also managed to come off the bench for only his fourth appearance of the season after overcoming groin and tendon injuries.
Despite his acknowledgement of the threat that a full-strength Chelsea poses to the other contenders, Wenger has stated that the team that emerges most successful in head to head encounters with its rivals has the greatest chance of being crowned the champion.
“I said many times that it is not only Manchester United and Arsenal who play for the title this year. It is as well Chelsea, Tottenham maybe, Man City, you have five or six teams who can play for the title but at the end of the day the team that will win it is the team that gets more points than anyone else from these games (against their title rivals).”
On Saturday, Manchester City’s 3-1 win away to West Ham sent them top of the table in conjunction with Arsenal despite uncertainty surrounding the future of frustrated striker Carlos Tevez.
Wenger’s Gunners will aim to pull away from the Citizens when they try to pick up a difficult win against third-placed Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday evening.