Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes Arsenal will compete for Premier League title

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Image: Antonio Conte feels Arsenal should be considered title contenders this season

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte expects Arsenal to be in contention for the Premier League title this season.

Arsenal finished 18 points behind Chelsea last season as Conte led the Blues to the league title in his first season at the club but, Arsene Wenger's side came out on top in the FA Cup final to deny him a domestic double.

A fifth-placed league finish led to pressure on Wenger, with the Frenchman coming in for criticism from some supporters again following a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool a fortnight ago.

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Conte, however, believes Arsenal will be challenging for the title this year and that his team face a difficult challenge when the sides meet on Super Sunday.

"Arsenal are a big rival for the title," he said. "If you see their squad you can understand that - they have a lot of top players.

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is confident his side can beat Chelsea away from home at Stamford Bridge

"I don't understand why they can't fight for the title. They have lost only one player, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, and they have kept all of their players. They have many top players."

He added: "I think Arsenal is one of the six top teams in England they will they have a really good squad to fight for something important, the title for sure.

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"That's the reason why I think this is a massive game for us. When you play against Arsenal it is always a massive game.

"It's the same when you play against (Manchester) City, Liverpool, (Manchester) United or Tottenham, there are six top teams in England.

"Anything can happen and for this reason we must pay great attention. We must fight."

Before the press conference began Steve Atkins, Chelsea's head of communications, admitted fans from both clubs should be prepared for "heightened security" at Stamford Bridge after a terror attack, involving an improvised explosive device, occurred at Parsons Green underground station on Friday morning.

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