Antonio Conte’s first game in charge of Chelsea could well be the game of the first game week of the Premier League, yes, despite Arsenal taking on Liverpool on Sunday. Conte, the Italian master tactician, is probably yet to come up with his favoured formation at Stamford Bridge and will get the first taste of the Premier League against a team on the rise, West Ham United. A London derby is something Conte surely would have liked to avoid to start his campaign with.
Chelsea set an example for the worst possible title defence in recent history last season and eventually parted ways with fan favourite Jose Mourinho. Guus Hiddink, on an interim basis, managed to save the sink from sinking and now it’s up to Conte to revive Chelsea’s lost glory. The Italian surely mastered Italian football but England’s top tier will be a whole new challenge for him and the fans will hope that he does not take too much time to adapt to the new conditions.
Here is the predicted Chelsea lineup against West Ham United.
Belgian international Thibaut Courtois will start under the bar ahead of Asmir Begovic. Chelsea skipper John Terry will start at the heart of defence carrying a slight head injury and his compatriot Gary Cahill will partner him. Serbian international Branislav Ivanovic will start in the right-back position while Cesar Azpilicueta will start on the opposite flank
Chelsea’s summer acquisition from Premier League holders Leicester City N’Golo Kante looks certain to start in the middle of the park. The Frenchman’s engine, work ethics and tenacity was one of the key reasons behind achieving the impossible last campaign and he will be looking to replicate the same for the Blues. Cesc Fabregas will be partnering Kante in midfield playing as a deep lying playmaker.
Oscar had an on and off last season and could never really show his true colours but the fans will hope the Brazilian undergoes a change in fortunes under Conte. Eden Hazard, another player who had a poor last season, will be looking to show his true ability this campaign. Willian, Oscar and Hazard are likely to start in the attacking midfield trio behind the striker.
Diego Costa is likely to start as the focal point of attack despite the summer arrival of Michy Batshuayi from Marseille. The Spaniard is likely to spearhead the attack for the Blues against the Hammers.