Martin Keown delivers verdict on Antonio Conte’s decision to drop Chelsea star

The former Arsenal defender explains why he wasn't surprised to see Branislav Ivanovic dropped

Martin Keown admits he wasn’t surprised that Antonio Conte dropped Branislav Ivanovic for Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Hull City on Saturday afternoon.

The Serbia international admitted that the Blues players didn’t believe in Conte’s tactics during the west London side’s 3-0 loss to bitter rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in their penultimate game ahead of the international break.

The new Chelsea manager started with Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta alongside Gary Cahill and David Luiz as part of a back-three for their trip to the KCOM Stadium.

And Conte’s new-look defence managed to keep the west London side’s first clean sheet in four attempts to end their three-game winless run in the Premier League.

Former Arsenal defender Keown wasn’t surprised to see Ivanovic omitted from Conte’s starting line-up for their trip to Mike Phelan’s promoted side at the weekend.

“After the Arsenal game, Branislav Ivanovic said Chelsea weren’t believing in what they were doing at the start of the match. It’s been quite significant that Ivanovic has been dropped,” Keown told The Daily Mail.

Chelsea are in seventh place in the Premier League table.

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The Blues will host reigning champions Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday 15 October.

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