ARSENE WENGER insists he does not regret missing out on Eden Hazard.

The Frenchman has revealed Arsenal simply could not compete with Chelsea when the 24-year-old became available.

Three years ago the Stamford Bridge outfit splashed out £32m for the playmaker, whose brilliant season for the champions-elect has seen him become a red-hot favourite for Player of the Year.

Wenger and Arsenal were well aware of the talents of the young Lille star.

In January 2011 the Gunners boss was even quoted on the club's official website saying he was not bid for Hazard because he had enough offensive players.

But, he claimed he only missed out on Jose Mourinho's ace in the pack because Arsenal could not compete with the spending power of Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

"I have no big regrets because, at the time, there was so much financial, so much money involved we could not afford it," Wenger said.

"And not defend it, honestly. It was linked with all the environment. It was not feasible for us financially."

Wenger's north Londoners aim to keep up their slim title hopes by beating Chelsea at the Emirates.

He has failed to get the better of Mourinho in 12 meetings - with his team unable to score in four encounters since the Portuguese's return to , including a 6-0 league defeat at Stamford Bridge last season.

Wenger indicated he had been drilling into his men how not to get caught on the break by the Blues again, which was the cause of their downfall in that humiliating hammering.

"We have to organise that the players who go forward, do so with 100 per cent belief, and the players who do not go protect us from being caught on counter-attack," he added.

The Frenchman has revealed Arsenal simply could not compete with Chelsea when the 24-year-old became available.

Three years ago the Stamford Bridge outfit splashed out £32m for the playmaker, whose brilliant season for the champions-elect has seen him become a red-hot favourite for Player of the Year.

Wenger and Arsenal were well aware of the talents of the young Lille star.

In January 2011 the Gunners boss was even quoted on the club's official website saying he was not bid for Hazard because he had enough offensive players.

But, he claimed he only missed out on Jose Mourinho's ace in the pack because Arsenal could not compete with the spending power of Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

"I have no big regrets because, at the time, there was so much financial, so much money involved we could not afford it," Wenger said.

"And not defend it, honestly. It was linked with all the environment. It was not feasible for us financially."

Wenger's north Londoners aim to keep up their slim title hopes by beating Chelsea at the Emirates.

He has failed to get the better of Mourinho in 12 meetings - with his team unable to score in four encounters since the Portuguese's return to, including a 6-0 league defeat at Stamford Bridge last season.

Wenger indicated he had been drilling into his men how not to get caught on the break by the Blues again, which was the cause of their downfall in that humiliating hammering.

"We have to organise that the players who go forward, do so with 100 per cent belief, and the players who do not go protect us from being caught on counter-attack," he added.

"We have been good on counter-attacks, but Chelsea has been the most efficient on counter-attacks. Maybe as well they play a bit more for that."

Asked if the match was likely to be a clash of styles, with Arsenal the purists and their rivals the pragmatists, Wenger could not resist a sarcastic joke.

"Maybe you will discover the Chelsea team are completely offensive and we are defensive for 90 minutes," he said.

Wenger also cast doubts on the chances of Chelsea's exciting kids - who recently won the UEFA Youth League, and have taken a 3-1 first leg lead over Manchester in the FA Youth Cup final - breaking into Mourinho's first team.

Chelsea currently have a staggering 27 players out on loan, and Wenger said: "Between the young players and the players out on loan, there's another step to make first. They give them certainly out on loan first."

<h2>Manchester United missed out on the chance to climb to third in the table as Theo Walcott’s deflected strike secured a point for Arsenal….</h2><p><b><a href="http://www.thegunners247.uk/match-reports.php">Full Match Report</a></b></p>

Manchester United missed out on the chance to climb to third in the table as Theo Walcott’s deflected strike secured a point for Arsenal….

Full Match Report

<h2>HORSE-LOVING Arsene Wenger reckons Arsenal are close to becoming title thoroughbreds once again….</h2><p><b><a href="http://www.thegunners247.uk/arsene-wenger-9.php">Full Story</a></b></p>

HORSE-LOVING Arsene Wenger reckons Arsenal are close to becoming title thoroughbreds once again….

Full Story

Today’s Top Arsenal Blogs

We can still mangle these Mancs, whether they’re Sky Blue or Devil Red…

By Woolwich 1886

Once Sunday began with an improbable, last-ditch win for City at Liberty Stadium, we might be excused for mailing it in a bit at Old Trafford. After all, Yaya Touré’s winner all but cinched the belt on second place, and what else is there Arsenal to play for but third? For 75 minutes, we played in such a way that a comparison to dog food would be insulting to it, not us, and we still emerged from a stadium in which we haven’t won a Prem match for how long I don’t dare mention it (okay, September 2006).

It’s not the win we clamored for, but it’s a result that sees us batten down hatches and all but dare Man U to overtake us anyway. Like it or lump it, that’s a far-cry better than we might have hoped for when the first half of the seasonunravelled unfolded.

Read More of this Arsenal Blog