Thursday 22 March 2018

Conte to hand Fabregas his chance

Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas Picture: PA
Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas Picture: PA

Matt Law

Antonio Conte is ready to give Cesc Fabregas the chance to silence the Arsenal boo-boys as he prepares to send his Chelsea team on the attack at the Emirates today.

Fabregas is in line to make his first Premier League start of the season against his former club and is sure to get a hot reception from the home fans.

Conte wants to put his team out on the front foot against Arsenal, following the lacklustre performance in the defeat to Liverpool, with Fabregas likely to replace Oscar.

Fabregas could be deployed ahead of N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic after scoring twice in the League Cup victory over Leicester City in midweek.

Having joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old from Barcelona, Fabregas spent eight years in north London before re-joining Barca and then moving to Chelsea in 2014.

"For Cesc, it's a special game," said Conte. "But the most important thing for Cesc is that, now, he's a Chelsea player and playing very well for Chelsea.

"I'm seeing him very focused, very concentrated, during the training sessions. He played a good game in the cup. I'm pleased with his attitude, with his commitment during training and in the last game. "

Having seen his team keep just one clean sheet in their opening seven games and with captain John Terry still out with an ankle injury, it seems Conte may have decided that the best form of defence is to attack against an Arsenal team that is vulnerable in defence.

Arsene Wenger is celebrating 20 years at Arsenal, an achievement Conte has great respect for. Unlike his Chelsea predecessor Jose Mourinho, the Italian does not believe a manager's work should be judged solely on winning.

"I think that Arsene Wenger is doing a good job. To stay up there every year is not easy. I think Wenger is doing a good job with the young players. When you see Arsenal, you see good football.

"It's fantastic if someone is able to stay for 20 years in the same club. Sometimes I think it's important, when you're a manager, not only to think about win, lose or draw." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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