Arsene Wenger has effectively surrendered the Premier League title to Chelsea, admitting that he feels no team is capable of catching Jose Mourinho’s men.
The Frenchman’s comments come after he watched his Arsenal side throw away a one-goal lead against Swansea to lose 2-1 late on at the Liberty Stadium, leaving them sixth after 11 games, already 12 points behind their London neighbors.
Indeed, the runaway league leaders head into the next international break with their unbeaten record still intact, holding a four-point lead over second-placed Southampton, while they are eight clear of Premier League champions Manchester City.
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Overall, Mourinho’s men are currently an average of 13 points clear of the other teams who finished in the Premier League top six last season, and with less than a third of the season gone, Wenger already deems it unlikely that they will be caught.
"At the moment, Chelsea are on course to get 100 points this season," Wenger said after the Swansea game.
"If you look at the number of points they have today, if they keep that up nobody will catch them, that’s for sure. There doesn’t look to be anybody capable to challenge them at the moment."
Chelsea have dropped points on just two occasions so far this season, both in 1-1 draws in Manchester – games in which they held a lead until a late equaliser.
Asked why he sees Chelsea as so unstoppable this season having finished a disappointing third last campaign, the 65-year-old responded: "There is no obvious reason for it.
"They had a good start, and we have gone through that [in the past].
"As long as you don’t lose, you don’t question yourself, there is a little bit of extra spirit in the team that, when it is tight, gets them through."
After their collapse at the Liberty Stadium despite leading through another Alexis Sanchez goal, the pressure mounts on Wenger. They have now dropped a league-high nine points from winning positions this season, while 17 points after 11 games represents their second-worst start to a Premier League season behind 16 points in 2012-13.
Speaking after the Swansea loss, Wenger said: "We have to live in the realistic world. In football you have to win the games you can win and today was one.
"If you want to challenge for the Premier League you have to be a bit more realistic than we were today."
But Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher laid the blame for the defeat on Wenger’s failure to adapt his approach.
"It’s the same things with Arsenal, it’s nothing new," he told Sky Sports. "It’s the way they play, the way they understand the game, what’s coming from the sidelines and how they allow themselves to get in these situations week after week, season after season.
"They were winning 1-0 but for the equalising goal they were all pushing forward and got caught on the counter-attack again.
"Then the winning goal is down to a weakness – not being physically strong enough when the cross comes in. These are problems that anyone can identify."