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Chelsea v Arsenal: Fabregas denies crisis of confidence

Cesc Fabregas insists he has never struggled for confidence as he prepares to face former club Arsenal with Chelsea on Saturday.

Spain midfielder Fabregas and champions Chelsea have faced heavy criticism in the wake of back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Everton, results that mean they have taken just four points from five Premier League games this season.

But Fabregas set up Diego Costa’s goal before scoring the fourth himself in the 4-0 Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday, and the former Barcelona man is relishing the chance to arrest Chelsea’s domestic slump when they meet the Gunners.

“My confidence is always high, that is not a problem, but sometimes things don’t go well for you for many reasons,” he said.

“We didn’t start the season well and when you see Chelsea so far down the table you have to check twice to make sure this is happening. We have a big game again on Saturday so we must not rest.

“We have to win. It is a London derby, we know Arsenal are a quality team, they play top football and it will be tough but we want to win.”

Arsenal, meanwhile, are desperate to pick up where they left off in the Premier League after their shock 2-1 Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb, which also saw Olivier Giroud sent off.

Arsene Wenger was criticised in some quarters for making six changes to the starting line-up that comfortably beat Stoke City last week in Croatia, but midfielder Mikel Arteta believes it is unfair to blame the boss.

“We had the chances but we didn’t take them,” he said. “The manager tried to create the best balance for the game but we didn’t make the most of it.”

Chelsea have a number of injury concerns ahead of Saturday, with Jose Mourinho ruling out Willian after he was forced off with a hamstring problem against Maccabi.

Pedro (thigh) and Thibaut Courtois (knee) are also out, while Radamel Falcao (also knee) is a doubt.

Arsenal are still without Jack Wilshere (leg), Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck (both knee), but Theo Walcott will be vying for a starting spot up-front after scoring as a substitute against Dinamo.

Per Mertesacker could also return to action, having begun training again after being sidelined through illness.

Chelsea carry an impressive record heading into Saturday’s game, having won four and drawn three of their last seven league games with Arsenal.

However, Wenger finally sealed his first win in 14 attempts over Mourinho in last month’s Community Shield.

Thu 17 Sep, 2015
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