Cesc Fabregas: Arsene Wenger says midfielder deserves respect

Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011 before joining Chelsea for a fee of about £30m in June 2014

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas should get "the respect he deserves" on his return to Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The Premier League game will be the Spaniard's second against the club he played for between 2003 and 2011 since signing for Chelsea last June.

Fabregas, 27, joined Arsenal when he was 16 but left to return to his boyhood club Barcelona in 2011.

Wenger has previously said he does not regret not re-signing the midfielder.

Before hosting the Premier League leaders on Sunday (16:00 BST), the Frenchman maintained that position.

"The regret I have is that he wanted to leave here," said Wenger, who turned down a buy-back option for Fabregas last summer.

"This club and myself had a very positive influence on Cesc's life, so I would be a bit uncomfortable to have to justify today why he is not here.

"I believe I would rather it was the other way around."

Wenger v Mourinho: Round 13

Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho
Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho were involved in a touchline confrontation at Stamford Bridge in 2014

Second-placed Arsenal trail Chelsea by 10 points, and Wenger is yet to beat a Jose Mourinho-managed side in 12 matches.

The Portuguese manager has previously described Wenger as "a specialist in failure", while the pair physically clashed in a touchline confrontation during Arsenal's 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in October last year.

For Wenger, though, this weekend's match is about more than the personalities.

"What is important is to have a great game," he said. "That's what English football needs, to know that Arsenal against Chelsea is a big game and not about the relationship between the managers.

"I am not a great believer in history," he added. "We have not always lost in 12 attempts. We have come close to beating them a few times and they have always had very strong teams.

"I just think football is down to the fact that the performance on the day will decide the game and the result. We are on a good run, we have an opportunity to beat them at home, and we want to take it."

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