Arsene Wenger said Premier League stragglers Chelsea still have the quality to come back from their poor start to the season. The defending champions have lost four of their eight league matches this season and lie 16th in the table, 10 points off leaders Manchester City. Wenger's Arsenal are second, two points behind City after eight games, but the French coach says there is still plenty of time for Jose Mourinho's side to challenge for the title.
"They have some ground to make up but it's difficult to rule anybody out at the moment, even Chelsea. Of course when you have many teams in front of you it's difficult to catch up but they have the quality. We are two points behind the leaders and what all the other teams do is up to them, but what I just want to say is mathematically you can't rule anybody out at the moment," he said at a press conference on Thursday (15 October).
Wenger believes his side are back in contention for their first Premier League title since 2004 after shrugging off the financial constraints imposed by moving to the newly built Emirates stadium in the 2006-2007 season. He pointed to the signings of German midfielder Mesut Ozil, Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez and Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea as an indication of Arsenal's muscle in the transfer market.
"We are back in the fight because we have the financial position to get the best players and when you look well at the last two years we brought in Ozil, Sanchez, Petr Cech. That shows we are back and capable to fight to get the best players," he said.
Despite their promising domestic position, Wenger's squad are struggling in the Champions League, lying bottom of qualifying group F with no points after their first two matches and still to face rampant Bayern Munich twice. They are at home to the German champions on Tuesday (20 October) and then travel to Bavaria on 4 November before hosting Dinamo Zagreb 20 days later.
Faced with the possibility of not making the second stage of the elite club competition for the first time since 2000, Wenger could be forgiven for prioritising the more achievable trophy. "The Premier League is the most important competition, with the Champions League, but I would say the Premier League is the most important for us," he told the media.