Arsene Wenger has praised Chelsea for their impressive winning streak this season as they close in on Arsenal’s run of 13 consecutive victories; a record his side set across two seasons between 10 February and 18 August, 2002.
The Blues have picked up maximum points in every Premier League game since the Gunners hammered them 3-0 in September and now sit top of the table six points ahead of second place Liverpool.
Antonio Conte’s side can equal Arsenal’s achievement when they play Stoke on New Year’s Eve. The record will be there’s outright if they subsequently beat Sp*rs on 4 January.
“What they do is fantastic,” admitted Wenger in his final press conference of 2016.
“If they do it, it’s absolutely marvellous because nobody expected that. They had quite a little bit a dodgy start but after, since they’ve changed their system, they’ve been on a run.
“Confidence plays a big part. If they do it, you can only say, ‘well done’. The records are there to be beaten and If someone does better than you, you have to acknowledge and say, ‘well done’.
“They have addressed their problems well. You have to give credit to [Antonio] Conte to find a solution that has balanced well his team. Of course, they bought as well [David] Luiz who stabilised their defensive record. Overall, they have been the team who has been most consistent until now.”
Chelsea could be 12 points clear of Arsenal by the time Crystal Palace visit the Emirates on New Year’s Day.
“I’m worried about our next performance,” replied Wenger when asked about the worrying gap.
“At the moment we have not to look at that. We have to look at our performance for the next game and fight back. It can as well be the other way round. I know as a journalist is to imagine the worst, I wish that in 2017 that you wish us the best.”
Arsenal’s 14-game winning streak
Feb 10, 2002 – Everton 0-1 Arsenal
Feb 23, 2002 – Arsenal 4-1 Fulham
Mar 2, 2002 – Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal
Mar 5, 2002 – Arsenal 1-0 Derby
Mar 17, 2002 – Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal
Mar 30, 2002 – Arsenal 3-0 Sunderland
Apr 1, 2002 – Charlton 0-3 Arsenal
Apr 6, 2002 – Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham
Apr 21, 2002 – Arsenal 2-0 Ipswich
Apr 24, 2002 – Arsenal 2-0 West Ham
Apr 29, 2002 – Bolton 0-2 Arsenal
May 8, 2002 – Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal
May 11, 2002 – Arsenal 4-3 Everton
Aug 18, 2002 – Arsenal 2-0 Birmingham