Interim boss Guus Hiddink is optimistic Chelsea can maintain their impressive hold on Arsenal, despite the contrasting Premier League fortunes of the sides this season.
As the Gunners battle for the title, Chelsea entered the weekend’s fixtures languishing in 14th place, 19 points behind Sunday’s derby opponents.
Jose Mourinho was Arsene Wenger’s nemesis – the Frenchman’s only win in 15 contests with the Portuguese came in last August’s Community Shield – and the Gunners have not won a Premier League clash between the sides in eight attempts, since October 2011.
“I’m convinced my team on Sunday will give its utmost to get results which have been achieved in the recent past,” Hiddink said.
“It’s a bit different to the past, of course. I’m not a person who likes to deny the facts.
“Look at the statistics. We’re closer to that (relegation) line than we are to the Champions League positions.
“It doesn’t mean we’re looking down. We have to look up.”
Hiddink took confidence from Chelsea’s last-gasp draw with Everton, when John Terry’s controversial goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time secured a point last Saturday.
“I was very happy with the reaction of the team,” he added.
“It was a narrow escape, but it was good to see that a team, in any minute or any second, even in the dying seconds, didn’t want to surrender too easily.”
Hiddink, who has presided over a six-match unbeaten run, but only two wins, knows such a result can provide a large fillip for a side whose confidence has plummeted this season.
“Every win (can),” said Hiddink, who succeeded Mourinho in December.
“Everyone knows where we were in December. So far we are unbeaten on one hand; on the other hand we cannot be fully satisfied with all the results.
“Being unbeaten means we have to make the next step and not drop back into inconsistency.
“One day good or half a game good and another day less consistent. That’s where we have to work.
“I see the players working already with a lot of ambition, but also with confidence.
“I hope and think we will see another very attractive game on Sunday.”
Chelsea’s chances could be significantly boosted by the availability of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.
Both are in contention after recovering from injuries. Costa suffered a bruised shin against Everton and Hazard has missed the last three games with a groin injury.
Hiddink, meanwhile, has a good record against Arsenal, his Chelsea side inflicting Arsenal’s heaviest ever Premier League defeat at the Emirates Stadium, winning 4-1 in May 2009.
That was just days after a last-gasp Champions League elimination to Barcelona.
Hiddink said: “I remember it. The team showed enormous mental power in that game and were extremely resilient.
“If this team plays as it reacted as they did after the 2-3 in the last game, the Everton game, then this team can play up to this standard.”