Antonio Conte has warned his players that Chelsea’s impressive recent record against Arsenal will count for nothing when the two teams meet at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Chelsea have not tasted defeat on their last six visits to the home of the Gunners, who have failed to score a single goal against their London rivals in the last seven competitive meetings between the two teams.
But Conte insists that Saturday’s match will present a formidable challenge for Chelsea, who are looking to rebound from a 2-1 home defeat against Liverpool on their last Premier League outing.
Addressing Chelsea’s dominant record over Arsenal in his Friday media conference, Conte said: “Yeah, but this type of number I don’t like. Every game is different.
“For this reason I know that there are good results in this game against Arsenal, but we must know that, tomorrow, we face a good team in good shape, a big rival for us, and we must pay great attention. We must go there to impose ourselves and try and play good football to get a good result.”
Asked if he thinks that Arsenal might have developed a mental block when it comes to facing Chelsea, Conte replied: “No, I don’t know. I don’t believe in this, in the psychological aspect of it all. I repeat: in football there is the game, there is the present, and the past is not important.”
Chelsea will be without captain John Terry for Saturday’s match after Conte confirmed that the 35-year-old had failed to recover from strained ankle ligaments sustained during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Swansea City earlier this month.
Deadline day signing David Luiz is expected to continue alongside Gary Cahill at the heart of Chelsea’s defence in Terry’s absence, and Conte has no other fresh injury worries ahead of the trip to the Emirates Stadium.