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Arsenal boss says Premier League is Chelsea's to lose

Arsene Wenger admits Chelsea are the "super-favourites" for the Premier League title as they close in on the record winning run set by his Arsenal side more than a decade ago.

Wenger knows Chelsea are in the driving seat in the Premier League. Credit: Reuters

The Blues sit six points clear at the top of the table having won their last 12 league outings to establish themselves as the team to beat in the race for the championship.

Antonio Conte's side have been perfect in the league since a 3-0 loss to the Gunners on September 24 led to a change in formation from the Italian.

Now they are nine points ahead of Arsenal heading into their weekend clash with Stoke and Wenger conceded they are certainly in the driving seat at this stage.

The Arsenal boss said:

At the moment Chelsea are the super-favourites because they are quite big and made a big difference.

But it is theirs to lose as we say here in England. They can still lose it, at the moment they have won it but they can still lose it. It's still a long way to go and very difficult for everybody so the head-to-head (matches) will have a vital importance.

They have addressed their problems well. You have to give credit to Conte to find a solution that has balanced well his team. They bought David Luiz who stabilised their defensive record and I think overall they are the team that has been the most consistent until now.

– Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Chelsea boss Conte: Premier League title more important than winning run

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte. Credit: PA

Antonio Conte wants his Chelsea side to build on their club record 12 straight wins by marching on to the Premier League title.

Should the Blues, who beat Bournemouth 3-0 on Boxing Day, defeat Stoke and Tottenham in their next two games, they will equal Arsenal's Premier League record of 14 successive wins.

But statistical landmarks matter little to former Juventus and Italy boss Conte, who wants his side to reclaim the Premier League trophy they won in May 2015 after relinquishing it so poorly last season.

"I prefer to win the title than the record," Conte, who was appointed in the summer, told Chelsea TV.

"Records are important, but not all. It's important to write history only when you win.

"To be in the history of the club and to win 12 games in a row is fantastic. But with the players we want to continue."

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Chelsea ace Pedro: Premier League is strongest in the world

Chelsea forward Pedro. Credit: PA

Chelsea forward Pedro believes the Blues' 11-match winning run is more impressive than any he managed while at Barcelona.

Pedro told the Daily Telegraph: "It's not new for me, but it's difficult in this league. It's different here. At Barcelona, it's normal to win most of the games and sometimes it's too easy.

"But the Premier League is very competitive and strong, and for this reason, 11 wins is a significant achievement.

"The record is 14, no? Only three wins more, but that will be difficult. Bournemouth are a good team. It's a very good objective to get this record.

"It's very different in Spain. Barca have many opportunities all the time to win matches, which in England is very difficult because the challenges are greater."

Pedro struggled during his first campaign at Stamford Bridge, but the Spain international is much more settled this season under Conte.

He added: "Second is a disaster at Barcelona, so last season was a new situation for me. It was a difficult situation for everyone, for the club, the team and the coach. There were a lot of problems, but this season is different.

"I would love to win the Premier League because it's the strongest league in the world and I think that would be something really good for my career."

Chelsea lucky with lack of injuries - Klopp

(L to r) Chelsea stars Pedro, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard. Credit: PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Premier League leaders Chelsea could be the luckiest team of the title contenders, due to keeping Eden Hazard and Diego Costa free of serious injury this season.

Klopp told Sky Sports: "There is no perfect system in world football, but when they [Chelsea] go on like this they are the deserved champions, nobody could have a doubt about this.

"I am pretty sure that until now Chelsea are maybe the team that have had the most luck with injuries. We lost Phil (Coutinho) and Daniel (Sturridge) and Danny Ings in difficult moments when you really could use them.

"If it's Hazard and Costa at Chelsea, is it the same afterwards?"

The Reds sit second in the table, six points adrift of a Chelsea side who have strung together 11 straight wins.

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Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta signs new contract

Cesar Azpilicueta has signed a new three-and-a-half deal at Chelsea. Credit: PA

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has put pen to paper on a new three-and-a-half-year contract, the club has announced.

The improved contract will keep the Spanish international at Stamford Bridge until 2020.

Azpilicueta is poised to celebrate by making his 200th Chelsea appearance at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, and after agreeing his new deal he told the club's website:

I’m really happy to have signed a new contract. Since I arrived here my target was to progress as a player and win trophies. This new contract gives me the chance to continue my relationship with the club, that’s what I wanted and obviously I’m really happy here.

We’ve had some really good moments so far this season. From day one, we started working very hard. We have a new manager with new ideas and I’m really happy to be working with him. Obviously we can still improve but the long-term aim for us is to win trophies, that is what we all want, the players, manager and fans.

– Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta
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