By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsene Wenger does not believe that Chelsea are genuine candidates to be relegated this season.
West Ham striker Andy Carroll became the first elite player to voice the unthinkable when he claimed on Thursday that the Premier League champions could be playing in the second tier of English football next season.
Asked if his old nemesis Jose Mourinho could take Chelsea down to the Championship, Wenger replied: “No chance.”
Pressed further as to why, the Frenchman said: “The quality of their team”. And the manager? “Yes, that as well. They are in a difficult spell but they are not in a relegation battle.”
Asked if he had the same sympathy with Mourinho as with any other under-pressure manager, Wenger said: “Look, I just gave you a good answer”.
Mourinho’s team are marooned in 16th place in the Premier League table, just one point above the relegation zone.
Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Monday night was their ninth league defeat of a wretched season, from just 16 matches played.
Carroll said that the possibility of the champions being relegated to the second tier should not be ruled out.
“It is tough to actually realise that they are such a good team, with quality players, and who spent so much money on those players – they just can’t string a pass together at the minute,” Carroll told Sky Sports.
“It is hard to think Chelsea could be in the bottom three at the end of the season. But the way they are going, I don’t see why they can’t get relegated. I think it’s on the cards.”
Mourinho’s future is on the agenda once again after Monday’s defeat at Leicester. As reported by Football Insider, Chelsea chiefs have held talks about whether to sack the Portugese in the wake of the club’s staggering decline.