Chelsea sits pretty as Conte gets revenge over Arsenal
LONDON (AP) — Antonio Conte waited more than four months for revenge against Arsenal. With a 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, the wait was worth it for the Italian manager as Chelsea remained nine points clear at the top of the Premier League.
The convincing win more than compensated for Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat by London rival Arsenal at the Emirates in September.
On Saturday, from the moment Marcus Alonso scored the opening goal after 13 minutes, there was only going to be one winner. Eden Hazard’s sublime second goal was greeted with raucous celebrations from players, manager and fans. By the time Cesc Fabregas added a third, Arsenal was well beaten.
For all Conte’s insistence that the title race is far from over, it is going to take a monumental drop in form by Chelsea for a rival to have a serious chance.
Sixteen wins in 18 games since that Arsenal defeat is emblematic of just how Conte has got to grips with English football.
Like former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, Conte has a reputation as a strong disciplinarian who drills his team hard.
But where Mourinho seemingly fell out with senior players and accused them of betrayal in his second spell, Conte has fostered team unity. The Midas touch he brought to Juventus, where he won three consecutive Serie A titles, has been transferred to west London.
He has made Chelsea hard to beat and instilled a killer instinct that was evident again against Arsenal on Saturday.
Tottenham consolidated second place with a 1-0 home win over Middlesbrough in the evening game but with fourth-placed Liverpool losing 2-0 at Hull, Chelsea is sitting pretty.
Here’s the rest of Saturday’s action:
TOTTENHAM 1, MIDDLESBROUGH 0
Harry Kane’s second-half penalty proved decisive for Spurs.
Kane made no mistake from the spot after Son Heung-Min had tumbled under a challenge from Bernardo.
Middlesbrough, in 15th place but…