Date: 23rd September 2016 at 1:32pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger has now held his pre Chelsea press conference, and it wasn’t just the game itself that featured in the questioning.

In one part of the press conference as he met with journalists, Official Site he was asked for his thoughts on individuals who had taken the headlines in recent matches.

So Diego Costa.

‘The best way to handle him is by being completely cold-blooded, just focus on the game and don`t respond. Just try to negate his qualities and his game. You need to be committed but by respecting the rules of the game and not responding. Last year we were a bit unlucky at Chelsea to be down to 10 men because we got a red card and it was rescinded after. In the other game, we deserved the red card because we were caught on a quality run by Costa.’

With Antonio Conte arriving over the summer, he was asked for his thoughts on him and the start Chelsea have had.

‘He is doing well because he has started, they have started, in a very strong way. After that they have a little bit slowed down against Swansea and of course they had the big game against Liverpool that they lost, but I think Liverpool had a strong start, a strong first half and they came back in the second half, so he Conte has done well.’

Jose Mourinho had to feature obviously.

‘Look, I haven`t read the book and I certainly won`t read it. I cannot comment on that. I talk about football and that`s all I do. I`m not in a destructive mode, ever. I`m more constructive and I cannot comment on that because I`m focused on tomorrow`s game and how we want to play football. I do not want to especially comment because we play Chelsea. I have no personal problem with anybody, I respect everybody in our game and I don`t feel I comment a lot on other teams. Sometimes I just say what I think, but that is part of the way I am. It has nothing to do with our game tomorrow. I personally am just focused on doing my job well and respecting everybody else.’

So for the game itself, he ruled Aaron Ramsey out of the reckoning, but admitted everybody else was in contention and in his mind on recent performances, they all deserved to start the match.

‘We had a good game at Hull and we had a good game at Nottingham Forest. I believe that everybody at the moment deserves to start the game and be in the squad, so I will decide that today. The players have responded very well to the competition. It`s always difficult to pick my team because everybody is doing well, we have seen that again against Nottingham Forest so it`s positive. We have a balanced, mature squad where there is a fight for every single position.’

He also called for Arsenal to begin a ‘new era’ this weekend by beating Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium and he’s confident we can do just that.

‘It is an important game for us because we feel we are on the way up and Chelsea is a good test and a good opportunity for us to continue our progress. Chelsea in the last 10 years had very, very strong teams. You realise that today as well. Before that period, we were always beating them, after they were always the stronger team for a few years. Now, it looks like it`s a new era where it`s a bit more balanced again and we feel we are progressing at the moment so we have a good opportunity to grab and to change what I call ‘the inconvenient facts` of the recent years. Chelsea have always come to the Emirates with a strong defensive solidity and to catch us on the break, because they know we like to take the initiative.’

He went on to say.

‘Antonio Conte has very strong players in transition, like Hazard, like Willian, like Diego Costa. For us to stop them, these three players, from being dangerous will be one of the keys of the game.’

He also again addressed recent disciplinary issues and keeping eleven players on the pitch.

‘Yes, we talk about that because in the last two games, we`ve played against Chelsea with 10 men. Of course for the result on Saturday it will be important the way we play football, but as well the way we behave, because discipline and results are strongly linked. The results we`ve had in the last two games are that we couldn`t play 11 against 11.’

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