Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is known for his passionate, sometimes manic, character on the sidelines during matches, but he wants to make sure that today’s London derby is not a repeat of last season’s fiery display.
In the Stamford Bridge fixture between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur last May, 12 players picked up yellow cards, while two mass brawls hampered the 2-2 result.
One of the scuffles extended to the dugout where poor old Guus Hiddink was knocked to the floor.
Adding to the drama, Tottenham midfielder Moussa Dembele was hit with a retrospective six-game ban for an eye gouge on Diego Costa.
In last season’s game, the Premier League title was on the line, and as we are in the early stages of this campaign, there is not quite as much pressure this time around.
However, Spurs will be wary of dropping out of the title race as they sit four points adrift of league leaders Chelsea, and will be desperate to get some points at the Bridge.
Ahead of the match, Conte has called for cool heads from both sets of players. The Italian told reporters:
“The supporters feed this. They feel this. There is a fantastic intensity during the game. I like this type of game, for sure, because it’s not normal. This game is a special derby.
“In London, there are a lot of teams, but this game is special for our club. But it’s important, I repeat, to be focused on the game, getting three points and playing good football.
“To play and improve. That is the most important thing now. It’s not important to look at the past, to see what happened.”