Conte taunts Wenger and Mourinho, Costa warns rivals, Midfielder transfer almost done

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has taunted the club’s title rivals by claiming their complaints over the fixture list is simply down to the fact that the Blues are top of the table.

The Italian’s side travel to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham on Wednesday knowing that they can extend their lead over nearest rivals Liverpool to eight points.

Arsenal dropped points against Bournemouth on Tuesday and Wenger bemoaned his side’s compact fixture list after the 3-3 draw.

Jose Mourinho, too, said he was looking forward to an ‘amazing’ match between Chelsea and Tottenham because he said the sides ‘must’ be very fresh for their extended break.

However, Conte believes his rivals are simply bitter about the fact that his side sit top of the Premier League table.

‘I can reply that I didn’t do the fixtures,’ said Conte.

‘I think that’s the simple reply. The advantage is one more day of rest over Tottenham

‘That’s the advantage, if we want to speak about advantage. But for me the advantages are other things.

‘During a season different situations can happen when you can have advantage – but for sure not this.

‘I think that now they [Chelsea’s rivals] are angry for our position [in the table] not for the fixtures.’

Diego Costa sends blunt warning to Chelsea’s title rivals

Diego Costa has warned Chelsea’s title rivals that he and his team-mates are determined to make amends for last season and win the Premier League this term.

Costa, like many of his Blues team-mates, struggled to produce consistent displays as Chelsea finished in 10th place last season and without a trophy.

It was a dramatic drop in form from the Blues, who had lifted the Premier League and League Cup trophy the season before.

Chelsea have been the Premier League’s top performing team this season and head into 2017 top of the table and as the heavy favourites to win the title this term.

Costa has been in superb form this term and was voted as the Premier League player of the month for November.

However, the Spaniard feels that there is still plenty of room for improvement as Chelsea look to finish their first season under Antonio Conte with some silverware.

Speaking to Chelsea’s website, Costa said: “I have been better than I am now and that gives me more motivation to try to get better. That’s what I will carry on doing.

“I don’t set myself personal targets, in terms of goals and assists. What I try to do is improve, always.

“If the previous campaign hasn’t been very good, or even if it has, I just try to do a better campaign than the one before.

“My main aspiration, and not just mine, my team-mates’ too, is to conquer the title again.”

Chelsea midfielder all set to join Chinese club Tianjin Teda

Nigerian midfielder, John Obi Mikel, is all set to leave Chelsea in January to join the Chinese Super League. According to reports from TMW, Mikel has agreed a three-year contract with Tianjin Teda. He is ready to join the Chinese club, where he will earn around €8-9m per season.

Mikel, 29, has not played a single match this season under Antonio Conte, and doesn’t feature in the first team plans of the Chelsea manager. The Nigerian has dropped down the pecking order at the club behind N’Golo Kanté, Nemanja Matić, and Cesc Fàbregas, and is yet to make the bench this season. He has made over 370 appearances for the club, and has won two Premier League titles and the Champions League with the Blues.

The midfielder was also linked with a move to Italy, with Calciomercato claiming he had even agreed personal terms with Inter Milan. In recent weeks, La Liga club, Valencia, have shown an interest in him, with the club’s sporting director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, admitting he has held talks with the Chelsea midfielder.

Garcia Pitarch said, as reported in Superdeporte:

In the case of Obi Mikel, with Chelsea’s permission, I met with him in London on Christmas day. informed him of the option [of joining Valencia]. He said he would think about it.

However, it seems that Mikel has made up his mind, and he will move to Asia instead. Mikel is a solid defensive midfielder, and he is still good enough to play for any top European club. Having won rich success with Chelsea, and playing 78 games for his country, he probably lacks the motivation to reinvigorate himself and try a different challenge. In that respect, a move to China is a safer option for him.

He would become the second player to have joined the Chinese Super League this season from Chelsea, with the Blues having already offloaded Oscar last month.

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