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Monday 23 October 2017

Fabregas: I've 'huge respect' for Gunners

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas (inset) insisted he still had huge respect for Arsenal fans despite getting a hostile reception from some of them as he helped condemn the Gunners to a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Fabregas put in a fine performance against his old club in the Premier League contest and provided a wonderful pass from which Diego Costa notched the hosts' second goal.

Asked afterwards if the victory had been sweeter given the negativity aimed towards him by some Arsenal supporters, the Spain international said: "Not at all.

"I have huge respect for Arsenal - they gave me everything when I was little. Without them I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't have won what I have won.

"I have huge respect and I take it in a positive way. I know they love me and it is all because we were together once.

"Sometimes, circumstances mean these things can happen. But I have always said it - I am not scared. They will always be in my heart forever.

"But this is football, I am in this fantastic football club now playing with great players, a great coach and great fans and I want to win everything.

"I am hungry and really want to do well for this club. I hope I can make it in the future."

The game, in which Chelsea took the lead through Eden Hazard's 27th-minute penalty before Costa wrapped things up in the 78th with his ninth goal in seven Premier League matches, was a feisty affair.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, unhappy about a Gary Cahill challenge on Alexis Sanchez, appeared to shove his Blues counterpart Jose Mourinho on the touchline.

There were also questions over whether challenges from Gunners trio Laurent Koscielny, Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck might have merited them being been sent off by referee Martin Atkinson, when none were.

Mourinho had no doubt Arsenal "could have finished with eight men".

He said: "I think the referee, from a technical point of view, had a fantastic performance in a difficult, technical, fast match with lots of runs behind - also the linesmen had a difficult game and I think they did a fantastic job.

"But Arsenal could have finished with eight men, because it is a red card for Koscielny, it is a double yellow card for Chambers in the first half, and clear was a red card for Welbeck.

"But I accept that the Welbeck red card was not given - the game was over and Welbeck is a good kid and is not aggressive. It was maybe just a reaction, some frustration.

"So I have no complaint really."

Asked if it was a big deal that Wenger had put his hands on him, Mourinho said: "No, it is no problem."

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