Written by Carl Walker
The 2015/2016 season started with Chelsea as champions, but it soon turned into one of the most amazing and topsy turvey seasons in premier league history.
The season itself had absolutely everything, a spectacular implosion caused by a player revolt, a leak in the dressing room, management sackings, interim managers and bizarrely a court case against the club from a former employee.
Come the end of the season Chelsea had finished by their standards a disappointing 10th in the premier league. The players from the previous campaign looked shadows of themselves. Hazard, Costa, Courtois and Matic looked completely lost and we have no explanation why.
Once the dust had settled on a roller-coaster of a season for Chelsea the had the appointment of a new manager, Guus Hiddink had come in temporarily to steady the ship and after taking himself out of the permanent running for the job it gave Chelsea time to consider the next candidate.
This appointment would be crucial and Chelsea, in my opinion have nailed it with Antonio Conte.
A modest and hard working player at his time with Juventus, he won everything he possibly could at club level with them and when he moved into management that hard working mentality and complete commitment is what he demands from his players.
credit Nazionale Calcio
In the European Championships everybody loved his full throttle shouting and pacing up and down his technical area and he is no different at club level, he is on the pitch as if he was still playing, kicking every ball, winning every tackle with his team.
A perfect match right? Well not exactly, the honeymoon period was a delayed one. He struggled to get his players to adapt to the first two systems he wanted to use, the commitment was there but results didn’t always match up.
Dropping points against Swansea, Liverpool and most painfully Arsenal and after using the 4-5-1 and 4-2-3-1 formations Conte dug in and realised a change was needed.
Conte switched to a 3-4-3 against Hull and gave players that had usually been in exile a chance to shine. Chelsea were good value in the win at Hull and a clean sheet to boot. Since that day they haven’t looked back!
8 wins in a row and only 2 goals conceded (1 of them an own goal) they have been rampant. Hazard has almost been unplayable as has Costa who has once again shown a lethal touch in front of goal. Kante eats up the ground and never looks tired and the combative Matic provides additional cover and calmness to the play.
Pedro and most unlikely of all Victor Moses have been a revelation this season and have been main stays in this side. Willian, Fabregas and Oscar make up a strong looking bench and can’t get many starts between them this season. Great strength in depth is a must for a title tilt.
Yesterday’s result away at Manchester City set down a real marked for Chelsea to be title contenders. Even after conceded a goal they bounced back. Conte’s men shown the commitment he demands of them and in my opinion deserved the 3 points. They wanted it more, simple as that.
With the arrival of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, Conte has almost gone unnoticed until now. Chelsea fans should be extremely happy with this appointment.
Chelsea, after a blip last season, are most definitely back and while they don’t have the distraction of European football at least for this year they can fully focus on the title challenge and Conte will demand 100% commitment from them.
Will the wheels fall off? I don’t think so. Write them off at your peril. Chelsea have their swagger back!
Can Chelsea win the league under Conte? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Nazionale Calcio