Arsenal and Chelsea have never had an easy relationship, and while that has tempered somewhat with the departure of Jose Mourinho, the clubs are not friends – in fact, far from it.
So when Arsene Wenger offered some sympathy for manager Antonio Conte over the lack of squad size, the Blues boss – who has just lost the Community Shield to Wenger and Arsenal, was not best pleased.
Wenger had said: “I have sympathy for him [Conte].
“But do I feel sorry for Chelsea as they don’t have enough problems? Then no.
“Maybe he has the opposite problem [to me]. But if you look at the number of players on loan, they can call a few back.”
However, the London Evening Standard report Conte was not taking that lying down, and responded: “I’m not looking for sympathy of any coaches for this situation. This is my message.
“The situation is clear. I’m not looking for sympathy of the other coaches. If the club decide to send on loan players for their development it’s because these players are not ready to play for Chelsea.”
It is a huge season for Chelsea – and their manager, who is very well aware what will happen to him should he fail to lead the club to another set of trophies.
The Blues are back in the Champions League, and despite the repeated warnings from the Chelsea manager, have done little in terms of the transfer window to bolster their squad, with Conte and others, such as club legend Frank Lampard, warning that could come back to haunt the side come the crunch periods of the season, where the games are coming thick and fast.
This may well be the most competitive Premier League title race in years, and Conte knows that he will have to put in a solid performance as a manager – and hope his players do the same in order to retain the title and not see another manager dismissed.