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manchester city

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After taking care of the “Hull City practice” Antonio Conte‘s mind is already focused on next three massive clashes that are waiting for Chelsea, who will play Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City in ten days.

“Good game, good performance, it was great for us,” the Italian told BT Sport 2 after tonight’s final whistle.

“The most important thing is that we are in the next round. Now we have to prepare for the game against Barcelona.

“You hope to always have a game that you can dominate. Our start was impressive. We started with great focus and concentration, will to score and wanted to go to the next round. I’m really pleased with the commitment of my players.

“It was a positive night for us because we had the opportunity to rest some important players. At the same time, I saw players in good form. I have different options. Now we have three days to make the best decision for the game against Barcelona.

“We lost two games at the end of a busy period. Now we have the right confidence again. But in the next two weeks we have to play massive games and we must be strong, Barcelona, United and City. We are ready.”

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After tonight win against WBA Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was relieved to have found some confidence before some important clashes like the upcoming ones against Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City:

“What I know is that tonight was fundamental to get three points back, to win this game, especially to find again some confidence, because when you lose two matches in a row in a bad way the confidence decreases,” the Italian coach claimed after the final whistle.

“It was also important for us to have some rest and we rested for two days.

“We started the game with a few confidence, we made some mistakes, West Brom could have scored but we were back in the game, we scored and we could have scored even more goals.

 

“It was important to overcome this hard moment.

“Now we have important clashes, like the one against Barcelona, and we had to find our confidence again before facing them.”

 

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Chelsea/Dzeko deal has been holding because the Bosnian striker hasn’t agreed personal terms with the Blues yet.

The Stamford Bridge side have offered Edin Dzeko a one-year and a half deal, but the player wants a two or three-year and a half deal.

Meantime AS Roma and Chelsea have agreed the player’s transfer fee: the Giallorossi in fact, have accepted to sell the Bosnian for € 30 million plus € 5/8 million in add-ons. Full back

Emerson Palmieri is also part of the deal, though his signing would cost Chelsea somewhere in the region of € 20/25 million.

Emerson Palmieri has already agreed to join Chelsea but Dzeko has yet to reach an agreement with the Premier League champions.

Last night the former Manchester City ace scored Roma equalizer against Sampdoria and is now waiting for Chelsea to put a new offer on the table.

Dzeko’s intention is to end his career in European football in 2020 to join the MLS.

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A well deserved pass for Carabao Cup final earned by Arsenal tonight after beating a Chelsea, who gave the impression they never really believed in reaching it.

Gunners were far more motivated than the Blues and despite conceding the first goal to Antonio Conte‘s side after only 7’ – Eden Hazard scored it – they immediately reacted and equalised thanks to an unlucky deflection by Marcos Alonso first and then Antonio Rudiger in their own goal.

Chelsea were actually in the game until Willian got injured after 27′ and was forced to limp off the pitch with a suspected hamstring injury, being replaced by Ross Barkley, who made his official debut for the Blues, his first game since last May. However, he didn’t impress.

From that point onward Arsenal took the control of the game despite the Blues trying to take the lead again with a couple of chances threw by Hazard.

The second part saw Arsene Wenger side being dominant and finding a deserved goal with Granit Xhaka at 60′.

Chelsea weren’t able to react or create dangerous chance, they only tried with the strength born of desperation in the last minutes of the game.

Conte now has to deal with an injury emergency and a way to refresh confidence and physical form in his players before Newcastle clash in FA Cup next Sunday.

Arsenal will Manchester City, who beat Bristol City last night, in the competition final at Wembley in one month.

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Speaking after tonight’s game at Emirates StadiumArsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims half-time was crucial for his team in their effort to beat Chelsea and qualify to the Carabao Cup final which will be played next month at Wembley vs Manchester City.

I felt that in the first half there were tactical reasons for not expressing the quality of our game, we rectified that at half time.” Wenger said during his post game press conference. “In the second half we won the ball high up and controlled the game. It’s a great satisfying night for us. We managed to beat a strong team. In January we paid a heavy price for uncertainty in the dressing room – now we are back. We have shown we can beat big teams. That’s important for the second half of the season”.

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During his press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game vs Norwich City, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was asked about Alexis Sanchez and the Italian said he doesn’t believe the Blues will compete with Manchester United and Manchester City in the race to sign the striker.

I don’t know, I don’t think so,” Conte said. “About the transfer market – I prefer to talk to the club and give an opinion and I repeat that I don’t want to give my opinion on that.”

 

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is confident that Manchester City will beat United in the race to land Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in the January transfer window.

The Blues’ manager, speaking at a press conference ahead of Leicester clash today, claimed: “If they want Sanchez, they sign Sanchez. I think it would be a good investment, we’re a talking about a top-player in a good moment where the price is not so high”.

“In the past Man City showed that if they want a player, they go and buy it” Conte added.

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Should Chelsea will be able to beat Norwich in FA Cup third round replay they will find Newcastle at home in the fourth round, with games to be played in the weekend of 26-28 January.

The draw took place tonight, this is its result in full

Sheffield United v Preston

Norwich OR Chelsea v Newcastle

Newport v Tottenham

Hull v Nottingham Forest

Bournemouth OR Wigan v Shrewsbury OR West Ham

Middlesbrough v Brighton OR Crystal Palace

Southampton v Watford

Millwall v Rochdale

MK Dons v Coventry

Cardiff OR Mansfield v Manchester City

Carlisle OR Sheffield Wednesday v Stevenage OR Reading

Yeovil v Manchester United

Notts County v Wolves OR Swansea

Huddersfield v Birmingham

Peterborough v Fleetwood OR Leicester

Liverpool v West Brom

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Despite all the rumours about his possible move to Real Madrid next season, Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is focused on Chelsea and tonight’s London derby vs Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

I think it’s important over the Christmas period, with a lot of games, that you pick up as many points as possible, especially now we are playing a big rival who are below us, because if we can win there it will be good for us and we will go up to second again,” – Courtois told the official Chelsea website. – “We want to try to close the gap to Man City as much as possible in case they drop points. We are in good form, we are defending well and not conceding goals so hopefully we can keep that run going, but the most important thing against Arsenal is to win.”

Chelsea’s good run has been determined so far also by impressive defensive performances and Courtois is aware of this aspect:  “It’s good to know that sometimes you need just one goal to win a game, so if you are capable of keeping clean sheets and defending well that’s good,’ – Courtois said – “At the beginning of the season we struggled to not concede, we gave away some silly goals at times but then we changed. Since then we’ve worked better defensively as a whole and if you can match that with scoring, that’s good. In the last 12 games we’ve had eight clean sheets and only conceded four goals, which is great. In a big game anything is possible, it might be 4-3 or whatever, but hopefully we can have a good game defensively, score and win”.

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Speaking to the Evening Standard ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game vs ArsenalChelsea captain Gary Cahill claimed the Blues are in many competitions and so they can win a trophy even if this won’t be the Premier League as it happened last season.

Let’s be realistic, City have got a massive points gap, but we just need to keep going,” – Cahill said – “There are also other trophies to get so it can be a successful season. Let’s look at the positives and go for what we can go for. Our run over the last couple of months has been very good, but it’s like what the other teams couldn’t do with us last year – they couldn’t do much about the fact we won 13 games in a row. I was looking at Tottenham last year and they kept getting wins, but we were winning all the time as well, so they were probably sat there thinking they couldn’t do much more.”

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