Antonio Conte Blames Red Cards for Chelsea’s Last Two Losses to Arsenal

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Chelsea welcome Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, in a match that will now see heightened security, due to the terrorist attack today on a London tube train. The terror attack, which injured 29 people, occurred less than a mile from the stadium at Parsons Green.

Kickoff time is 13:30 local, and attendees are being asked to arrive much earlier than usual, in order to account for the additional time that will be needed to go through security measures.

Moving from a very serious situation to on-the-pitch issues, Arsenal have gotten the upper hand in this London rivalry, beating Chelsea in the last two meetings, the FA Cup and Community Shield, both of which were held at Wembley Stadium. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte maintains that his side being a man down led to both losses.

He seems to believe that red cards shown to Victor Moses and Pedro Rodriguez were major reasons for the defeat, and that his Blues can beat the Gunners in 11 on 11 football.

“I hope to finish the game with 11 players, because in the last two games, FA Cup final and the Community Shield, we finished two games with 10 men,” Conte said at his weekly news conference Friday.

“I hope this. Then during the game I think the best (team) wins.”

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Conte said he was impressed by what he saw from the Gunners last night, in their 3-1 win over FC Koln in the Europa League, a match that UEFA is investigating due to fan incidents being so severe that they had to delay kickoff an hour.

He also gave the press conference standard prose, about how anything can happen in a rivalry game, and how those matches are always massive.

“I watched the [Arsenal] game and Wenger rotated a lot of players, a lot of players rested for the game against us,” he continued.

“I think it’s not an advantage. I think Arsenal is one of the six top teams in England. And I think they have a really good squad to fight for something important, the title in England for sure.

“For this reason I think it’s a massive game for us. It’s the same when you play against City, against Liverpool, United, Tottenham.

“In England there are six top teams and when you play against one of them it’s always a massive game. Anything can happen so we must pay great attention. We have to fight and play a game against a rival.”

 

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A reporter asked Conte if he’s instructing his players to be more disciplined in this outing, and the Italian responded:

“For sure when you start the game you try to keep always the right discipline, but in both situations I think you have to see very well if there was the red card or not.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

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