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Antonio Conte thanks Diego Costa after Chelsea departure

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These will likely be the final questions Antonio Conte faces about Diego Costa.

[ MORE: Liverpool’s Matip talks to JPW ]

On Thursday it was announced that Chelsea has sold their leading scorer in each of the past two seasons back to Atletico Madrid with a protracted fallout between Conte and Costa finally coming to a logical conclusion.

After Conte reportedly sent Costa a text message stating he was no longer needed at Chelsea, just days after they lifted the Premier League title together, the Brazilian born striker refused to return to preseason training and remained in Brazil with family as he demanded to be sold back to Atletic Madrid.

He was fined by the club but has finally got his wish with a $77 million move back to Atleti sealed for the 28-year-old who won two Premier League titles in three season at Chelsea but also brought controversy with him on many occasions as the bullish striker upset opponents and teammates alike.

Speaking at Stamford Bridge on Friday ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Stoke City on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com) Conte thanked Costa for his efforts.

“About this issue, we want to thank him for what he did with this club. We wish him all the best for the future,” Conte said.

Asked about the deterioration of his own relationship with Costa and if his team will miss the goals of the Spanish international, Conte was less open.

“Now it is not important, I am not interested to continue talking about this issue,” Conte said. “I am working with my players and am happy to work them them. We must work and fight to win every competition. We are Chelsea and we need to try to do this in this season. We have to try to do our best in every competition. Our target is to do our best every day, every week, every month in this season.”

Stating multiple times that he was “not interested in talking about the past” and that only the current and building for the future was important, Conte did thank Costa once again and said he will remember the success they achieved together last season.

“I do not forget we won together last season,” Conte said. “For sure we want to thank him for his effort last season with us but not only last season, the period he played for Chelsea.”

With this saga now over, Chelsea will turn to Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi to score the goals they need to be successful on all four fronts this season.

After recovering well from a sluggish start to the season it appears Conte’s decision to oust Costa will, long-term, be the correct one. Even though Morata has taken a little time to settle and Batshuayi blows hot and cold, the Blues have goals everywhere you look with Eden Hazard, Pedro, Willian and others able to chip in.

There’s only one Diego Costa and Conte must be somewhat relieved to see the back of him.

Three things we learned from Chelsea v. Arsenal

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LONDON — Chelsea and Arsenal played out a tight, tense 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as the Gunners hit the post in the first half through Aaron Ramsey but couldn’t break through.

[ MORE: Wenger, Arsenal win battle ]

Arsenal nullified the threat of Chelsea’s counter attacks for large periods of the game with the reigning champions left frustrated as David Luiz was sent off late on for a lunging tackle on Sead Kolasinac.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Here’s a look at what we learned from an even, eventful London derby.


SANCHEZ, HAZARD RUSTY

0-0 with 25 minutes to go, Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger both reached to the bench to unleash their best players.

Alexis Sanchez came on for Arsenal and moments later Eden Hazard arrived.

Both were on the bench as they continued their recovery to full fitness with Hazard coming off a long-term ankle injury and Sanchez perhaps recovering from a broken heart after his deadline day move to Manchester City collapsed.

Apart from a run and shot straight at Petr Cech, Hazard didn’t get involved in the final third for Chelsea as a few runs from deep barely threatened Arsenal.

Sanchez was equally non-existent as the Chilean sauntered around the left wing role and apart from one majestic back heel he gave the ball away cheaply and looked like a man who was without a preseason to his name.

Two of the biggest stars in the Premier League are yet to get up and running.


MORATA LOSES BATTLE WITH MUSTAFI

With three goals and two assists, all with his head, in the Premier League so far this season, Alvaro Morata is Chelsea’s new main man up top.

He could’ve done with emulating the Spanish international striker he has replaced at Chelsea with Diego Costa often relishing his battles against Arsenal center backs and often coming out on top.

Morata did not with Shkodran Mustafi having an exceptional game at center back (he also had a header chalked out, correctly, for offside) to deny him chances and service. Morata looked isolated up top and with Cesc Fabregas moved closer to him for the second half to try and supply him with some chances, it didn’t work.

After a very good start to life at Chelsea and his aerial ability admirable, Morata proved he still has to adjust to the rigors of the Premier League.


SOLID, SOLID ARSENAL

Much has been made of Arsenal’s defensive solidity since switching to a 3-4-3 formation and this game proved that away from home against a title contender it works.

After switching to a 3-4-3 last season, Arsenal’s expected goals conceded actually rose from 1.2 per game to 1.7 and after conceding eight goals in their opening three Premier League games this season it seemed like the 3-4-3 could be ditched.

Even though Arsenal still haven’t won a Premier League match away from home against a side that finished in the top six the previous season since January 2015 (a 2-0 victory at Man City) — with an 0-8-6 record — the 3-4-3 formation allowed them to recover well at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea launched counters.

The pace of Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac helped Arsenal recover quickly when Willian and Pedro launched counters which usually pull opposition defenses apart.

Arsenal’s attacking unit wasn’t firing on all cylinders but defensively they were solid and after losing their last five games on the spin at Chelsea in the PL, a draw in a game which they controlled for large spells will do just fine.


Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: Chippy affair ends scoreless

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  • Ozil out
  • Sanchez, Hazard don’t start
  • Luiz sent off, 88′

Arsenal supporters will be heartened by its club’s even performance at Stamford Bridge as the Gunners drew reigning champions Chelsea 0-0 on Sunday.

Chelsea’s 10 points are three back of leaders Manchester City, while Arsenal’s seven place it 12th.

David Luiz was given a straight red card in the 87th minute, and will miss the next three matches.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Petr Cech was tested twice in the first three minutes, the second a low lash from Pedro, as Chelsea came out of the gates with vigor.

Alvaro Morata then turned a header toward goal off a cross from the right in what’s becoming a trademark for the Spaniard, but the flag was up.

Arsenal hit Chelsea on the counter, and Danny Welbeck came very close to heading Hector Bellerin‘s cross into the upper 90. And Thibaut Courtois had to get low to block an Alexandre Lacazette shot moments later.

The Gunners had grown into the game, and Sead Kolasinac troubled Courtois with a shot through traffic in the 20th minute.

That said, Pedro soon looked to be 1v1 with Cech, though his trouble in controlling the ball helped Laurent Koscielny hamper the breakaway and keep things scoreless.

Aaron Ramsey‘s incredible, physical dribble found him hitting the post in the 41st minute, with Lacazette missing horribly with a wide-open doorstep rebound.

David Luiz plowed into the advertising boards before halftime and needed help to stand while tenderly holding his wrist.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

He returned, and saw yellow when his overhead kick attempt made contact with Koscielny’s head.

Willian dribbled into a dangerous place off a quickly played free kick by Cesc Fabregas, but hit an arrow over the bar.

Shkrodan Mustafi claimed to have Arsenal ahead with a header and wild celebration in the 75th minute, but the flag was up.

Substitute Eden Hazard forced Cech into a save in the 79th.

Forget a second yellow, Luiz was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Kolasinac in the 87th minute. The Brazilian chopped at the Arsenal defender, catching his ankle studs-up.

Watch Live: Chelsea vs. Arsenal

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Lose and feel a gulf between your club and your ambitions: This is the daunting early task for Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

[ LIVE: Chelsea vs. Arsenal ]

Mesut Ozil is out for Arsenal, while Alexis Sanchez starts on the bench. For Chelsea, there are the usual suspects with Willian holding his spot ahead of Eden Hazard.

Chelsea entered the season looking to defend its Premier League title while advancing deep into the UEFA Champions League. The Blues took their first step toward the latter on Tuesday with a home destruction of Qarabag, but go into Sunday’s match knowing a loss to Arsenal will have it more than a single result behind Manchester City and possibly Manchester United.

As for the Gunners, their poor start to the campaign has the North Londoners seven points back of City at the start of the day. The 12th place Gunners have two less days rest than Chelsea thanks to the Europa League, and are on the road with a minus-1 goal differential.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Willian, Morata, PedroSubs: Caballero, Christensen, Rudiger, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Hazard, Batshuayi.

Arsenal: Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Welbeck; Lacazette. Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Alexis, Walcott, Giroud.

Tite selects blasts from past for Brazil roster

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Brazil manager Tite has picked his roster for a pair of qualifiers against Bolivia and Chile, and there are a few familiar names not heard from of late.

Most notably, 33-year-old Fred has been called in, his first call-up since the 2014 World Cup. Also brought in is 32-year-old Diego Tardelli, who has 14 career caps and last saw time in the 2015 Copa America. Tardelli is playing in China with Shandong Luneng. Tite also recalled another 32-year-old in Flamengo midfielder Diego, who has not seen the field for Brazil since 2008. Diego was called up back in March but was an unused substitute in both World Cup qualifiers.

26-year-old Danilo was also called in, after starting the season brightly for Manchester City. He has 16 previous caps for Brazil and one goal, and has started the Premier League season by appearing in all for City games, with one assist.

Not on the roster is Chelsea defender David Luiz, who has not played in a competitive match for Brazil since March of 2016. Neither was former Chelsea midfielder Oscar who has just returned from suspension with Chinese club SIPG. He has nine assists in 16 Chinese Super League appearances this season.

Brazil has already qualified for the 2018 World Cup, sitting 10 points above the rest of the table.

BRAZIL ROSTER

GK: Alisson (Roma), Cassio (Corinthians), Ederson (Manchester City).

DEF: Danilo (Manchester City), Miranda (Inter Milan), Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Daniel Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Jemerson (Monaco), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid).

MID: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Willian (Chelsea), Arthur (Gremio), Diego (Flamego), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk).

FWD: Diego Tardelli (Shandong Luneng), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Neymar (PSG), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).