Wenger: Age no longer an excuse

LONDON - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned his maturing team there can be no more age excuses if the club fail to land any honours for a fourth successive season.

"There is a period for any team to come out and show its strength. For my team this moment has come," the Frenchman told a news conference on Friday ahead of Sunday's clash with Premier League leaders Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal's last trophy came in 2005 when the north London club beat Manchester United on penalties to win the FA Cup, but since then a succession of high-profile player departures and a stadium move have limited the funds available to Wenger.

The manager has instead set about moulding a free-flowing team of talented youngsters, who Wenger feels have matured considerably.

"We are not anymore a team that has to be considered to be young. I think we have the strength and we want to show that on Sunday that we are strong enough to beat them," Wenger said.

Arsenal are eight points behind Chelsea, though with a game in hand a win would put them in a good position to make up the ground on their London rivals.

Despite Chelsea's good form Wenger said there was nothing for his side to fear.

"I believe for us the most important thing is to stick to our game, do not focus on any special individual on the other side, because you win these kind of games by dominating the game.

"If we focus too much on Chelsea it won't help us," he said.