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Sep 30, 2010

Drogba relishing clash with 'favourite club' Arsenal

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba says that he can't wait to play against Arsenal this weekend, not because he has such a good record against the Gunners, but because they are one of his favourite teams.

Drogba has scored 12 goals in 12 games against Arsene Wenger's side since joining Chelsea in 2004 and the Blues face their London rivals again on Sunday in one of the biggest clashes of the Premier League season.

Ahead of the game, Drogba has spoken of his admiration for Arsenal, but will not be going easy on the Gunners once the game starts.

"I love playing big games and I love playing against Arsenal, " Drogba told Sky Sports News. ''I always say that Arsenal is one of my favourite teams.

"When I was playing in France, Arsenal was an example for us because there were all these French players who used to play in the French league and went abroad to play for Arsenal with a French manager. So to play against them for me means a lot."

Both sides lost their last Premier League games, against Manchester City and West Brom respectively, and Drogba has underlined the importance of the fixture.

"I don't think we can afford to lose a second game, especially against Arsenal," he said. ''People have to know, and we know, that we're going to lose some games this season. But again, it's always good to win, it's always better to win.''

Drogba admits he was surprised to make an early exit from the defeat against City, after he was substituted with 15 minutes to go, however, the striker insists he respects manager Carlo Ancelotti's decision.

"I was surprised because I didn't expect that at that moment of the game," he added. ''But the managers always decide and I think he had some reasons and I understand them."

• Carlo Ancelotti will attend Chelsea's match against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday despite the death of his father Giuseppe.

Giuseppe passed away in Italy on Wednesday night aged 87 with his son at his side. The funeral will take place on Saturday.

"Everyone at Chelsea sends our deepest condolences to Carlo and his family. They are all in our thoughts at this time,'' read a statement on the club's official website.

Assistant manager Ray Wilkins will take tomorrow's press conference in Ancelotti's absence.

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