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Antonio Conte: “Anything can happen in the league”

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is seen during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Chelsea at Stadium of Light on December 14, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Everyone is looking at Chelsea to see how they respond from their shock defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend.

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Antonio Conte’s men lost 2-1 at home to the Eagles and they now host Manchester City on Wednesday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via as their lead atop the PL table could be cut to four points with a defeat.

Speaking ahead of the crunch encounter with Pep Guardiola’s Man City, Conte admits “anything is possible” but is happy with the position his side are in.

“Anything can happen in the league, but this is normal,” Conte said. “For sure, we need 21 points to win the league mathematically. We are in a really good position. We are in a position that nobody thought Chelsea could fight this season for the title but we stay there and we want to keep this position. We know that there are many teams that want to win the league but this is normal. I hope that this league, who win this league will deserve to win the league.”

Conte is right. Nobody really expected Chelsea to hit the ground running under the Italian boss’ first season in the PL but their three previous PL defeats this season had come against Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. Reacting positively to a shock loss is not something they’ve had to deal with so far. Now they have to.

Their opponents on Wednesday are more than capable of heading to Stamford Bridge and putting in a dominant display as Guardiola’s men were left to rue several missed opportunities in their 2-2 draw at Arsenal on Sunday which all but ended their own title hopes.

That said, if City beat Chelsea they’ll be eight points behind the west London club with eight games to go and Guardiola’s talented side have nothing to lose so will pour forward but they could help Chelsea. With Conte’s men putting in a perfect away display to beat City 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season, Guardiola already knows how deadly Chelsea’s counters can be.

Yet, the onus will be on Chelsea to respond with a big performance and a win against City. The pressure is all on the Blues, and in the run-in pressure does strange things to teams who looked impenetrable for most of the season.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports