Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes Arsenal are real title rivals

GK Petr Cech  Thibaut Courtois
GETTY GK Petr Cech Thibaut Courtois

17 September, 2017

Arsenal fans are fuming with the decision, claiming it is madness to leave the best player in the Premier League on the bench.

The Chilean started and scored against Cologne on Thursday, while fellow big name star Mesut Ozil is omitted entirely from the squad due to a knee problem.

Arsenal have not won at Chelsea since October 2011 and have won two of 21 games against the established top six since the start of the 2013-14 season, but Conte feels the Gunners are a threat.

The Blues tend to shine against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, having won their past five Premier League home games against their rivals in red.

"They lost only one player now, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain".

The England global, who spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough, played 73 minutes and his return will provide the manager with an added option in defence.

"I think Arsenal is one of the six top teams in England". I believe that against Liverpool everything went against us. It's the same when you play against (Manchester) City, against Liverpool, (Manchester) United, Tottenham.

"I remember when I was a coach of the national team and if you remember well when the terrorist attack we stay with the national team, we must play against Belgium. We have to fight". Chelsea suffered an opening day defeat against Burnley but have bounced back to win their last three games in the league, as well kicking off their Champions League campaign with an emphatic 6-0 win over FK Qarabag. Eden Hazard looks set to start his first league game of the season.

Arsene Wenger has used Welbeck often this term, and clearly sees him as a positive option out wide, although the player himself is also used centrally as a makeshift striker. He missed Arsenal's opening two games due to the lack of pre-season training, and then picked up a minor injury while on global duty.

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