Gunners to the ’Bridge

Conte’s Chelsea on a roll host an Arse­nal side still to make its mark this sea­son

The New Age (Gauteng) - - SPORT -

ARSE­NAL’S clash with Chelsea a year ago marked the turn­ing point in a sea­son that fin­ished with the Premier League ti­tle head­ing to An­to­nio Conte’s side at Stam­ford Bridge.

De­spite Arsene Wenger’s team in­flict­ing a 3­0 de­feat on their ri­vals at The Emi­rates that day, Conte used the ex­per­i­for­ma­tion ence to change his and Chelsea went on a 13­match win­ning league run.

For Arse­nal, it was to be their only vic­tory all sea­son against any of the teams who fin­ished in the top four.

The north Lon­don club came fifth, miss­ing out on the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time in 20 years and thus go into Sun­day’s show­down at Stam­ford Bridge off the back of a Thurs­day night match against Cologne in the Europa League.

Chelsea, will have break their Cham­pi­ons League of on mean­while, had a four­day fol­low­ing maul­ing Qarabag Tues­day. Although the cir­cum­stances are dif­fer­ent from this time last year, when Arse­nal were in the Cham­pi­ons League and Chelsea were not even in Europe, it is busi­ness as usual for Wenger.

“Wed­nes­day night or Thurs­day night is no dif­fer­ent for us, apart from the fact that it’s a dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tion, but when you play on Wed­nes­day-Satur­day it’s sim­i­lar to Thurs­daySun­day,” the French­man said this week. The pres­sure will be on Arse­nal to avoid a third suc­ces­sive league de­feat on the road hav­ing al­ready come un­stuck at Stoke City and Liver­pool, where they were thrashed 4­0.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have once again learned from their mis­takes to put to­gether a three­match win­ning run fol­low­ing a shock open­ing-day home de­feat by Burn­ley.

Af­ter their 6­0 vic­tory at home to woe­ful Az­eri side Qarabag on Tues­day, Chelsea goal­keeper Thibaut Cour­tois said they the prospect the Gunners. it is good team early. didn’t work out er­pool and this sea­son won at good to

said. were rel­ish­ing of fac­ing

“Some­times to face a big

Last year it against LivArse­nal, but we have al­ready

Tot­ten­ham. It is face Arse­nal now,” he

“We are do­ing well. Af­ter that bad first half against Burn­ley, I think all our per­for­mances have been good. We have shown good spirit, good foot­ball and good wins most im­por­tantly of all.” – Reuters

It was a good start, a per­fect start for us. To play the first game of the Cham­pi­ons League, then to win with a good re­sult, to score many goals, to fin­ish the game with a clean sheet. Now we have to think about the next game, a tough one against Arse­nal.” The match against Chelsea is a good op­por­tu­nity to show we can cope. We played on Wed­nes­day night in Barcelona and against Ever­ton on Satur­day morn­ing. It is a pre­con­ceived idea, foot­ball is down to how you per­form on the day. Three days is plenty of time to re­cover.”

PICTURE: EPA PICTURE: EPA

DANGER MAN: Chelsea for­ward Eden Haz­ard. FORCED TO STAY: Arse­nal for­ward Alexis Sanchez.

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