We can beat Blues, says proud Wenger
Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can take great pride from their policy of self-funding - and feels they can beat Chelsea this weekend. Big-spending Premier League rivals Manchester City today announced record losses of £121.3million. By contrast, the Gunners have continued to show a healthy financial background following their move to the 60,000-seat Emirates Stadium in 2006, with the most recent figures revealing pre-tax profits of £56million with all the debt paid off on their Highbury Square development. Arsenal's wage bill rose to £110.7million, which was 49% of the football-related turnover. City, who bought both Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor from the Gunners during the summer of 2009, saw their wage costs of £133.3million exceed a turnover of £125million - which in any normal business would be unsustainable. Arsenal head to Chelsea on Sunday, with the fortunes of the Stamford Bridge outfit having been bankrolled by Russian owner Roman Abramovich. Wenger is not a fan of clubs relying on the wealth of one individual, even though Arsenal have not delivered a trophy since their move from Highbury. "I am convinced that in every single club, what is the biggest pride of the club is to achieve the maximum with the resources we have available," said Wenger. "That is what we try to achieve, so the situation is not really comparable to what Chelsea has done." UEFA have approved plans which in the future will insist clubs in European competition spend only what they earn. The financial fair play rules will require clubs to break even over a rolling three-year period if they want to play in the Champions League or Europa League. On City's eye-catching financial announcement, Wenger quipped: "You know my position on that. I have not seen the numbers because I was in a training session, which I find more interesting." However, the Arsenal manager added: "With the financial fair play that will come in, it will be the same level of resources for all the big clubs." Wenger, meanwhile, maintains his Arsenal side have the quality to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday - even without injured captain Cesc Fabregas and a host of first-team regulars. The 23-year-old Spain World Cup-winner continues to recover from a hamstring problem, and has been joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Manuel Almunia as well as England Under-21 full-back Kieran Gibbs, who is ruled out of the forthcoming European Championship play-off against Romania with a calf problem. With the likes of Belgium centre-half Thomas Vermaelen failing to shake off an Achilles problem suffered during the last international break and England forward Theo Walcott and Dutch striker Robin van Persie both out with ankle injuries, a trip to Chelsea is hardly what Wenger would have wanted at this time. However, boosted by the midweek Champions League victory over Partizan Belgrade in Serbia, the Gunners boss insists last week's shock home defeat by West Brom is now out of their system as he prepares to inflict a second successive league reverse on Chelsea. "I believe we have enough strength to win the game and that is what we want to do," Wenger declared. "If we turn up with a great performance - and I am convinced we will - we will beat them. "Football is down to the performance on the day." Wenger added: "What is important is: have we the potential to beat Chelsea - I say yes. Are Chelsea a good team? I say yes, but we can beat a good team." Almunia's continuing elbow problem means another chance for the much-maligned Lukasz Fabianski to stake his claim, having answered criticism with an impressive display in Belgrade, where he saved a late penalty in the 3-1 win. "He had a good game [in Belgrade] and can just add another good game to the first one. That's what I want him to do and I am convinced he can do that," Wenger said. "Our job is about grabbing your chance when you have it. You must be ready the day you have your chance. "He has the talent, he has the potential, he has the desire, a great attitude, so it's all there to have a good game." Chelsea have a couple of injury concerns of their own, with Wenger openly admitting he was pleased England midfielder Frank Lampard would not play due to a groin problem. However, the Gunners will have to face their nemesis in Didier Drogba, the Ivory Coast striker having netted 12 goals in 10 games against Arsenal. New centre-back pairing Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny will aim to shackle the 32-year-old. "He has talent," said Wenger, who had scouted Drogba when the forward was at French club Guingamp, "He is a complete striker, which is why he has scored goals against many teams. "We have to stop him, to be efficient against him and I am convinced we will do that on Sunday." Should Arsenal lose at Stamford Bridge, they would be seven points adrift and potentially out of the top four should other results go against them. Wenger, though, maintains nothing will be decided on Sunday. "It's not too early because it is a confrontation between two top teams and it will certainly give an indication of the strengths of the two teams, that is for sure," Wenger said. "I don't think it is a decisive game, but it is a good indicator about the strengths in the Premier League." The Arsenal manager continued: "It is an interesting league. "Nobody is head and shoulders above the others, so it will be down to consistency, the way any team can improve from now until May. "I believe we have a good room for improvement, a good attitude, good talent - it is important we turn up with a good performance on Sunday, but there is still a long way to go." While Gibbs has been ruled out, 18-year-old midfielder Jack Wilshere is set to feature for the Under-21s at Carrow Road on Friday night, and could then be called into the senior squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro next week. "I select him for my first team, that means he is good enough because all my players are internationals," Wenger said. "But I am convinced he will be called up for the senior national team, if it is not this time it will be next. "It is only a question of time. He is playing very well."
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