Conte eyes re­venge over Ar­se­nal

Sunday Observer - - SPORT - AFP

LON­DON - An­to­nio Conte has chal­lenged Chelsea to avenge last sea­son’s FA Cup fi­nal heartache when they face ti­tle ri­vals Ar­se­nal to­day.

Conte’s team were de­nied a mem­o­rable Premier League and FA Cup dou­ble af­ter the cham­pi­ons crashed to a 2-1 de­feat against Ar­se­nal at Wem­b­ley in May.

With Alexis Sanchez scor­ing a con­tro­ver­sial opener for Ar­se­nal and Chelsea’s Vic­tor Moses sent off for div­ing, it was a bit­ter con­clu­sion to an oth­er­wise per­fect first sea­son in charge for Conte.

The Gun­ners also handed Conte the most chas­ten­ing de­feat of his reign ear­lier that sea­son with a 3-0 vic­tory in the league, as well as de­feat­ing Chelsea in the Com­mu­nity Shield at the start of this term.

Any meet­ing with Lon­don ri­vals Ar­se­nal is a big mo­ment in Chelsea’s sea­son, but those painful losses mean the lat­est derby at Stam­ford Bridge car­ries ex­tra sig­nif­i­cance for Conte and com­pany.

“I re­mem­ber very well that game. We were un­lucky, if you re­mem­ber the first goal it was very strange,” Conte said of the Cup fi­nal.

“I was sure this goal would be dis­al­lowed, in­stead we started 1-0 down.

“We tried to change the game, then a red card, with 10 men we equalised, but then we con­ceded an­other goal.

“When you lose there is al­ways dis­ap­point­ment but I al­ways see a good men­tal­ity from my play­ers when there is a de­feat.

An­swer

“Af­ter a bad start to this sea­son, the Burn­ley de­feat, I had a good an­swer from my play­ers, they showed a great men­tal­ity.”

That open­ing week­end loss to Burn­ley aside, it has been a per­fect start for Chelsea, with three suc­ces­sive league wins fol­lowed by a 6-0 thrash­ing of Qarabag in the Cham­pi­ons League on Tues­day.

In c on­trast, Ar­se­nal have en­dured a rocky pe­riod as a loss at Stoke was fol­lowed by a hu­mil­i­at­ing 4-0 de­feat against Liverpool.

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