ARSENAL may be getting grand ideas of what they can do under Mikel Arteta this season, but Chelsea great Joe Cole has told the Gunners they’re still in the Blues’ shadow ahead of tomorrow’s derby.
Cole offered a reminder of what Chelsea have managed to do while Arsenal were floundering over the past decade or so.
Since Arsenal last won the title in 2004, the west Londoners have won 19 major trophies, including five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues.
The Blues are rebuilding under new owner Graham Potter, while Arsenal are riding high at the top of the Premier League.
But despite Arteta’s recent success, Cole is confident the Blues will be back on top in no time.
He told SunSport: “We have to be very mindful of what’s happening at Arsenal because nothing has paid off as of yet.
“Arsenal have set high standards for themselves.
“I do like what they’re doing. I enjoy watching Arsenal play, which I haven’t said for a long time. I like Mikel Arteta and what he does, how he sets up the team and I like the young players.
“Nothing significant has been achieved at Arsenal as of yet with their high standards, but they’re on the right path.
“Chelsea have battled at a different level over the last 20 years. We have to say that.
“Chelsea are the most successful team in the country over the last 20 years.
“I still feel Chelsea can more than compete and go above Arsenal very soon.”
Chelsea may be looking at getting one over Arsenal this weekend, but the long-term target for Boehly and the rest of the ownership group is to overhaul the Manchester City juggernaut.
The American’s plan for doing so is to move away from Roman Abramovich’s hire and fire model and plan for the long term.
Boehly quickly moved to sack Thomas Tuchel when it became clear they did not share the same ideas about reaching the top – and promised Potter he would get the time he needed when leaving Brighton for Stamford Bridge.
Abramovich’s model may have delivered unprecedented success, but Boehly wants to carefully plot his way to the top and has also overhauled the club behind the scenes with the same idea in mind.
And while Cole played for and worked at Chelsea as a coach during Abramovich’s era, he is encouraged by the change in approach.
The ex-England international said: “I like it, I think it’s very smart from the new owners.
“Because what’s happened is, I have to take my hat off to Man City, I believe they’ll win the league this year.
“I think that’s five league titles out of six, that’s getting into an era of domination we never thought we’d see in the Premier League because of the levels of competition. But they’ve made so many smart decisions.
“Chelsea have stepped back and looked at the situation, thinking it is going to need to be a long-term project, taking the right steps along the way to match Man City off the pitch and on it.
“Everything has to be done with such precision, Man City are a well-oiled machine at the moment. You have got to respect that.
“Chelsea are in a position of respecting what they have done, but the competitive nature is that we want to be back on top of the tree in English football.
“It has to be a long-term project, there have to be foundations and I think it is a smart move.”
Planning for the long term is all well and good but Chelsea fans will still want results in games like a London derby against the Gunners, and losing both Reece James and Ben Chilwell is a huge blow to Potter.
James suffered a knee injury in Milan last month while, in a dead rubber against Dinamo Zagreb this week Chilwell suffered a hamstring injury that has ended his hopes of playing at the World Cup.
But Cole has defended Potter’s decision to play Chilwell against the Croatian side.
Cole said: “I’ve seen that argument, and I don’t like it.
“When you play at the level Chelsea play at it is very easy to criticise the manager picking a player at any time.
“There is so much in-depth behind the scenes, we don’t know what the situation was.
“He could have benefited from the game.” Regardless of that decision, it is a huge loss to Chelsea and England.
He added: “The best football Chelsea have played over the last 18 months is Chilwell and James are at wing-back, flying and giving real penetration.
“Chilwell against [Luke] Shaw would have been great competition for the left back spot [for England].
“It’s unfortunate. You want to see the best players at the World Cup, I feel for Ben and for Gareth [Southgate].”
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