Football: Chelsea rout was springboard for success, says Wenger

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger (right) watches as Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho points during their English League Cup fourth round soccer match at Emirates Stadium in London on Oct 29, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger (right) watches as Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho points during their English League Cup fourth round soccer match at Emirates Stadium in London on Oct 29, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal's 6-0 thrashing at Chelsea last season provided the springboard to end the season with FA Cup glory at Wembley.

Wenger's 1,000th match in charge turned into a nightmare at Stamford Bridge when the Gunners were 3-0 down inside 17 minutes and had Kieran Gibbs sent off.

Although the six-goal defeat was tough to take, it also proved a turning point for Arsenal, who won their final five Premier League matches to secure fourth place and then came from behind to beat Hull in the FA Cup final and end the club's nine-season trophy drought.

"It was a massive, massive disappointment, but on the other hand I must say that afterwards we showed great strength," Wenger said ahead of Sunday's return to the Bridge to face Premier League leaders Chelsea.

"The way we responded until the end of the season would not have happened at many clubs.

"I will never forget that day, but was very proud with how we responded.

"It was the lowest point of the season. When we lost 8-2 at Old Trafford (in August 2011) we had no team on the day, with nobody at the back, so that was explainable.

"The players will want to put things right after last season and will be up for it on the day."