Antonio Conte’s arrival at Chelsea was relatively low key after the tumultuous season the Blues had. But Italy’s dream run at the Euros with Conte at the helm has set Stamford Bridge buzzing again. Conte brings with himself admirable tactical nous, the desire and passion the club faithful so desperately seek after Jose Mourinho’s unfortunate sacking. He will demand a lot from the players and look to reinvigorate the star players of Chelsea who looked disinterested and jaded last season to put it mildly. There will be new additions but players currently in the team will look to pull up their socks and fight for the team’s collective cause. Three players in the team who have the chance to get a new lease of life and re-start after a disappointing season are as follows.
Eden Hazard was lauded as one of the brightest prospects in world football after his transfer to Chelsea saw him join the big league. He was voted as the Chelsea Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons and he was expected to take the next step in the 2015-16 season. But what followed was shocking and Hazard’s fall from grace was unprecedented to say the least. But he seems to be returning to his groove slowly but surely and has put in eye-catching displays for Belgium and Antonio Conte will be hoping he is able to get back to his form which had previously lit up Stamford Bridge.
He possesses excellent dribbling ability and has the rare quality to run with the ball and attract defences towards him and his finishing can make strikers go green with envy. Chelsea will hope Hazard gets sufficient amount of rest after their Euro exit and will get off blocks quickly come the start of next season.
In his first season at the Bridge, he helped Chelsea to Premier League and League Cup triumphs, effortlessly pulling the strings from midfield and leaving the rest of the Premier league dancing to his tunes. But the sun set quickly for the assist specialist as he, along with the crux of Chelsea’s title winning team, seemingly forgot to bring their form and purpose back from their vacations. Hence followed an embarrassing and abject surrender of their title and culminated in the sacking of fan favourite Jose Mourinho.
Come the start of the season, Fabregas will look to get into the good books of Conte and win back the trust of the Bridge faithful. Fabregas, with his eye for pin-point passes and distribution of the ball, fits into the role Andrea Pirlo so masterfully perfected under Conte for Juventus. His pass success rate remains high at 84% in an otherwise disappointing season in which he created only 66 chances for his teammates in comparison to 98 the previous season. He is capable of running the midfield show and it is predicted that Conte will give him a similar role as Pirlo in the Chelsea set-up.
Matic was bought by Chelsea for £1.5m in 2009 but was sold to Benfica after failing to make an impact. He was later bought back by Mourinho in the latter’s second spell at the club for £21m which proved profitable for Matic as he won the Premier League title while running the show in the midfield along with Fabregas. But the last season has been a frustrating one for him, with frequent injuries and loss of form plaguing his performances and the overall failure of the team to gel together after their title triumph. Chelsea will hope the introduction of a new manager will revive the fortunes of this towering Serbian and he gets back to bossing the midfield as he did in his first season back at the club.
Stats Courtesy: Squawka.com