LONDON (AFP) - Arsene Wenger says Arsenal's League Cup fourth round tie against Chelsea on Tuesday is a golden opportunity to prove they can be serious contenders for silverware.
Wenger's team have gone eight years without a trophy, but they are finally showing signs of once again becoming major players in the race for the sport's top prizes.
They hold a two-point lead over second-placed Chelsea in the Premier League after seven wins in an eight-match unbeaten run and Wenger believes Arsenal's clash with Jose Mourinho's men at the Emirates Stadium provides another chance to underline their improvement this season.
"We haven't won the title for a few years and people question that now," Wenger said.
"At the end of the day, the Premier League will reflect the quality of the performances of the team throughout the season and how well you do in the big games.
"This is a good opportunity for us to show we are ready." However, Wenger, who is likely to field a weakened team, is uncertain if the League Cup clash will have an impact on the Premier League title race and is unconcerned by the opinion of those who believe his side will be overhauled at the top of the standings.
"I'm not sure it will affect the Premier League at all, but you know people will look at you, how you behave and whether you can win the big games like that," Wenger said.
"What is for sure is that you want to win these sort of games. That has a certain psychological influence on the team.
"What we want to do is to show that we want to be considered as a very strong team and that comes only with the way we play and with the results, so let's just focus on that. We will absolutely go for this game." The match pits Wenger against his old adversary Mourinho for the first time since the Chelsea boss returned to English football after spells with Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
Wenger endured a difficult relationship with Mourinho during his first stint in charge at Chelsea, but refused to be drawn into a war of words ahead of their latest clash.
"It was not a big surprise because there was talk about it many times," Wenger said of Mourinho's return.
"When he left Madrid, it looked to be one of his best opportunities to come back."