London - Arsenal have "a big hunger" to avenge their crushing defeat against Chelsea in March, a humiliation that Arsene Wenger said on Friday he and his club would never forget.
The Arsenal manager seeks his first victory over a Jose Mourinho-managed club in a dozen attempts in Sunday's big Premier League derby and the Frenchman admitted that last season's 6-0 mauling at Stamford Bridge, which marred his 1,000th game in charge, had left an indelible mark.
"We will never forget last year at Chelsea and we have an opportunity to put it right," Wenger told a news conference before the return to Stamford Bridge. "We have a big hunger to put that right.
"Last year's slow start exposed us to counter-attacks. It was a very bad memory but football is not made of history, it's about performance."
With six points separating Arsenal from top-of-the-table Chelsea, Wenger said winning on Sunday was "vital" if his side was to stay in the Premier League race.
Arsenal's midweek Champions League trouncing of Galatasaray, he said, had been good for the confidence of the team. "We want to go to Chelsea to win. The fact they are six points ahead makes that desire even bigger.
"We are both still unbeaten (in the Premier League) but I feel we have had a more difficult run than them. It's a vital game for us to stay in the race."
As for the personal rivalry with Mourinho and the statistic he must hate being brought up -- 11 matches versus the Portuguese, and no wins -- Wenger said: "He has always had fantastic teams. It's not a game between two managers, it's a game about clubs."
Much hype will also surround the appearance of the former Arsenal favourite Cesc Fabregas, who has been flourishing for Chelsea since his move from Barcelona. Wenger has urged Arsenal fans to give the Spaniard a warm welcome.
"Everyone respects Cesc here and I want him to get the reception he deserves on Sunday," said Wenger.
"Cesc Fabregas will have a great career because he's a great player. He knows Arsenal had a positive influence on his career.
"I have no animosity against Fabregas. He's a player I love but he made a decision and we have to accept that."
Wenger also knocked down newspaper reports that Aaron Ramsey could be sidelined with his hamstring injury until December, saying: "I've been told he could be out for three to four weeks, so I count four."