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Antonio Conte tells his Chelsea players to start living up to their reputations

Published 24/09/2016

Antonio Conte has urged his Chelsea players to live up to their reputations
Antonio Conte has urged his Chelsea players to live up to their reputations

Antonio Conte has told his Chelsea players to start living up to their reputations after the Blues endured a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal.

Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil put the Gunners out of sight before half-time at the Emirates Stadium as the hosts condemned Chelsea to their second consecutive Premier League defeat.

Conte's men were run ragged in the first 45 minutes and once again paid the penalty for a string of defensive errors.

Gary Cahill gifted possession to Sanchez for the first goal, Cesar Azpilicueta was caught out of position for Walcott's second and then Cahill and David Luiz together failed to defend a two-on-two as Ozil added a third.

The result leaves Chelsea eighth in the table after six games and already eight points behind league leaders Manchester City.

"If someone thinks this season is easy, we must work a lot to improve and change the situation because now we are a great a team on the paper, not on the pitch," Conte said.

"I prefer to be a great team, not on paper, but also on the pitch because the pitch speaks the truth, the pitch is the most important thing for us. Not the words, not the paper. We must change this.

"Last season was a bad season and last season we were a great team on the paper. This team we want to be a great team also on the pitch.

"There are many difficulties but if we understand this we are in a good position to recover and to change the situation."

No team in the top half of the Premier League has conceded more than Chelsea's nine goals so far and they have now let in nine in their last four in all competitions.

Conte switched from a back four to a back three in the second half in hope of an improvement but the damage was already done.

"I think I have to solve the situation," Conte said. "The situation is every game we have conceded two goals at a minimum. For this reason, two back, three back or four back, I don't care.

"It's important to solve the situation. This is the most important thing. I must find the solution and I work a lot to find the right solution."

Chelsea's defensive woes once again bring to the fore the absence of John Terry, who was not declared fit enough to feature as he completes his recovery from an ankle ligament injury.

"John is recovering from a bad injury but I don't like to talk about players that today didn't play," Conte said.

"I don't like this. I think this is a lack of respect for the players today who played bad or good."

For Arsenal, the only blemish on their fourth consecutive league victory was that Francis Coquelin went off with a knee injury in the first half.

Coquelin was out for 10 weeks with a knee problem last season and Arsene Wenger confirmed it appears to be a similar issue.

"He has a knee injury at the same place he had last year at West Brom," Wenger said.

"That's the negative of the day. We don't know if the damage is as big at the moment, we have to wait for 48 hours. But he left the stadium in a brace and I'm a bit worried for that."

Arsenal outplayed Chelsea in the first half, with Sanchez, Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil rampant against their opponents' shaky back line.

It is the first time Wenger's men have beaten the Blues in the Premier League since October 2011.

"It's one of those moments in your life as a manager where you think 'today is a great day'," Wenger said.

"I felt that in the last three weeks, our team was on the way up. Today was a good test for us to see if that's real, if we could continue to move upwards.

"Would Chelsea stop our progression? Overall the quality of our performance today confirmed that we are on the way up.

"Yes, it's one of the best performances in recent years because it's one of the games where what we wanted to do worked very well."

The victory pushes Arsenal up to third in the table, a point behind Tottenham and five back on Manchester City.

Wenger admitted it was too soon to talk about markers for winning the title but believes his team's display proves they have the quality to challenge.

"It was relevant for us because it helps us to win a big game but between winning a big game and winning the Premier League is a long way to go," Wenger said

"At the moment Man City looks to be well in front, but if we can maintain our performances and the quality of our performances and be consistent we might have a chance."

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