Conte pours pressure on Arsenal as Spurs boss talks up title chances
Arteta previews Arsenal's Premier League trip to Tottenham
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Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has poured all the pressure on Arsenal ahead of the north London derby, insisting the Gunners have a “great opportunity” to win the Premier League title. Conte says the expectation is on Arsenal to show they can maintain their fight with Manchester City until the end of May.
Spurs are the hosts for this derby but it is Arsenal who are the favourites. Mikel Arteta’s men have won 14 of 17 Premier League matches this term, losing just one, and sit five points clear atop the table.
Conte’s charges are 11 points behind their rivals having played one game more than the league leaders. Spurs have struggled with inconsistency, winning three of their last eight while losing four – including three home games.
And the Italian tactician thinks it is on Arsenal to prove they can win the club’s first title since 2005. “When you are at the top of the league the perception of your opponents change totally,” Conte said.
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“You are, in that moment, the best team in the league. For this reason, everybody wants to try to beat you. For sure, Arsenal has to face this situation to be favourites to win the league at this moment.
“Because they are top of the table. They have to show to be good to face this type of situation. In the last 10 years it was always the same, between City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Maybe Leicester. Now Arsenal have a great opportunity.
“Now they have to show they can stay there until the end of the season because I’m sure Manchester City doesn’t agree… I think it is a battle between Arsenal and Manchester City.” Conte used his press conference on Friday to amp up the pre-match mind games.
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The Spurs manager was asked about Arsenal being charged by the FA for failing to control their players in both of their last two matches. Asked if there was a concern the Gunners might intimidate referee Craig Pawson this weekend, Conte said: “No but I think that I like to also in an important game like this, the respect is always at the top.
“You have to show respect in every situation and especially also with the referee because I know very well it’s difficult to be a referee, to take decisions. I think to intimidate or to create a bad atmosphere is not fair. I don’t like this.
“I hate the people that try to do it. Don’t forget that we are talking always about a game of football, an incredible sport, and we have to respect each other.”
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