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Arsenal still title contenders despite mixed form, says Conte
September 15, 2017 / 2:48 PM / 3 months ago

Arsenal still title contenders despite mixed form, says Conte

(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte reckons Arsenal have the squad to fight for the Premier League title despite their erratic start to the season as the two sides prepare for Sunday’s London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Chelsea vs Qarabag FK - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - September 12, 2017. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte before the match. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Chelsea have not lost at home against Arsenal since 2011, but suffered two 2-1 defeats to their rivals in May’s FA Cup Final and last month’s Community Shield, both at Wembley.

Since then, Arsene Wenger’s side have lost twice in four league games.

“I don’t care nothing about Arsenal’s situation, I care about Chelsea‘s,” Conte said in his pre-match press conference.

”Arsenal is one of the top six teams in England and I think they have a really good squad to fight for something important, the title in England, for sure.

“I think in England there is six top teams and, when you play against one of them, it is always a massive game and anything can happen. We have to fight, we have to play a game against a rival.”

The Italian manager said attacking midfielder Eden Hazard was nearing full fitness, but that he had not yet decided whether to start him this weekend.

The 26-year-old Belgium international, recovering from an ankle surgery, appeared as a substitute in Chelsea’s last two games, victories over Leicester City and Qarabag of Azerbaijan.

Captain Gary Cahill is also available after serving a three-match suspension.

Since their opening-day defeat to Burnley, Chelsea have roared back with league wins over Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Leicester.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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