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Conte satisfied with clean sheet, less so with Chelsea’s repeated finishing woes against Arsenal

Chelsea v Arsenal - Carabao Cup Semi-Final: First Leg Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Mourinho diversions aside, Antonio Conte has a habit of sounding like a broken record in his press conferences. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if, like last year, the record that’s skipping is about working hard, paying great attention, and playing with belief, ambition, and commitment. It’s less of a good thing when the repeated words start including things about needing to be more clinical, which has been a trend all season, but especially as of late.

It’s not often Chelsea produce back-to-back 0-0 draws — we have to go back to the very beginning of the Benitez era, to November 2012 for the last occurence of this (0-0 at home against both Manchester City and Fulham in the space of 4 days) — and while the personnel used in the two games were drastically different (the backups played against Norwich City), the trend remains worrying. Then again, as Conte has also been pointing out, it would be more concerning if, as against Norwich for much of the game, we’d fail to create any chances. That wasn’t necessarily the case, although the game was nowhere near as open as last week’s 2-2 against Arsenal.

So, it all comes down to the second leg in two weeks back at the Emirates. Arsenal may have the slight edge (though away goals only count in extra-time), but Conte’s not discouraged and despite his horrendous personal record against the Gunners, we shouldn’t be either.

Not conceding will be even more important for the second leg, as will be scoring. The pressure’s on; we’ll just have to perform.

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