Antonio Conte has provided a fresh lease of life to the under-performing players of Chelsea who were disillusioned under Mourinho last season. The fact that he guided Italy to the latter stages of the Euros has also raised hopes of a fruitful season which will invariably be built on tactical astuteness and strong defensive foundation. Conte has added a couple of signings in the form of Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante as he attempts to stamp his authority on the squad.
Conte has earmarked top 4 as a minimum Chelsea should look to achieve this season. We look at three reasons why Chelsea should aim for the title, let alone top 4.
HAZARD IS BACK IN THE GROOVE
One of the major reasons for Chelsea’s capitulation was the Belgian’s drastic loss in form. Having won the Chelsea Player of the Year in back to back seasons, last year was supposed to be the one where he took off and many people were expecting him to be break into the Top 5 players in world football. But he looked disinterested and failed to impose himself at all. He scored only 4 goals and assisted 3 in comparison to 14 each in the two previous seasons. With Hazard slowly getting back into groove Chelsea look a different proposition all together.
SIGNING N’GOLO KANTE
One of the foundations of the title-winning season of Chelsea was the midfield pairing of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic. They complemented each other and formed inarguably the best midfield in the league. But most players in the team they went out of steam last season. Matic was looking a shadow of his self and Fabregas failed to influence the play either offensively or while defending. Conte moved determinedly and snapped up the midfield powerhouse Kante from Leicester.
The French midfielder was an absolute beast for the Foxes as he repeatedly broke up opposition plays and converted them into attacks. With this acquisition, Chelsea have guaranteed industry and a mobile midfield which will go a long way in controlling the tempo of the play.
AN EVEN PLAYING FIELD
With the change in managerial positions in the Manchester clubs, Conte will get an even playing field and a sufficient cushion to impart his tactics and ideology to his Chelsea side. While City and United have looked to make widespread changes, Conte already inherited a team which was set-up to be defensively solid in the first place. The Blues have looked good in pre-season and will be the club who seem to be the most well-oiled and coherent amongst themselves which will likely ensure that they gain an advantage over their nearest rivals.