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Arsene Wenger speaks out on Chelsea relegation chances under Guus Hiddink

PUBLISHED: 10:17 21 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:17 21 January 2016

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (John Walton/PA Wire)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (John Walton/PA Wire)

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Arsene Wenger believes Guus Hiddink went “overboard” by claiming that Chelsea were fighting against relegation this season.

The Blues currently sit 14th in the Premier League table on 25 points, just four clear of the relegation zone.

A shocking start under Jose Mourinho saw Chelsea fall quickly out of the title race and they face a momentous task to secure a spot in the Champions League for next year.

The club have seen an upturn in form since Hiddink took over in late December but the Dutchman still believes they are battling for their Premier League lives in this campaign.

But Wenger, whose table-topping Arsenal side meet Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, does not agree with that assessment.

“No, not at all,” Wenger said. “[Hiddink] has gone a bit overboard there I think but I don’t believe that.

“If you look purely at the mathematics it’s true but their team has too much potential.”

Wenger insists Chelsea remain Arsenal’s “direct rivals” this season despite their place in the table.

“They are not in this title race but they are direct rivals because of the quality of their team,” he said. “This season there are exceptional circumstances for them and they will be back.

“I would not have believed [Chelsea’s league position], nobody could predict that but it can happen to anybody.

“The confidence can go quickly and for them the bad luck was that this year the league is more difficult for everybody. Once you lack a bit of confidence it can happen to anybody.”

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