After the disastrous defense of the Premier League title, Stamford Bridge outfit Chelsea are now ready to get back into the title race with a much stronger team and a talisman of a manager. Antonio Conte, who failed to take Italy all the way in the EURO 16 recently in France took over Chelsea this summer and has changed a number of things at the club. The manager bought in the likes of Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kanté to add mettle to their attack and midfield and has brought back the likes of Cuadrado, who might play a significant role at the club next season. But the core of the team will remain the same with the likes of Gary Cahill, John Terry, Eden Hazard and Willian all taking up regular places in the starting XI.
The manager is known for a 3 at the back formation that will see two strikers lead the team but with Lukaku still a while away from a move back to the Bridge and Diego Costa linked with a move away from the club, he is expected to use a more traditional 4-2-3-1 formation for at least the start of the next season. So, here is the strongest starting XI that Conte can field for his first game in Premier League against West Ham United on Monday.
The Belgian international was one of the most consistent shot-stoppers in the previous season and will be the first choice keeper at Chelsea for most of the next season. He is expected to start that game against West Ham.
Arguably the best player in defense for Chelsea in the whole of last season, Azpilicueta has gained loads of experience in his time at the club and is a nailed-on started for Conte for most games next season.
The first choice centre-back at the club, Cahill, is expected to start at the heart of the defence for Antonio Conte who will hope that he will lay a strong foundation at the back for his first season in the Premier League.
The club captain John Terry, who extended his contract with the club for another year, is expected to start alongside Cahill in his usual position to provide stability at the back for Conte’s new side at the Bridge.
Though was horrible at the start of the previous season, Ivanovic managed to get his confidence back in a make-shift centre-back role late last season but with Terry back in the squad, he is expected to revert back to his right-back position at least for the start of the season.
The Spaniard is an impact player who can control the midfield for the Blues and Conte will be hoping that he can link well with the players around him, like in the title-winning season under Mourinho, to help him ease into the Premier League.
The title winnings midfielder who made a big-money move to the Bridge this summer is the first choice midfielder for Conte next season and he will have his first real test in a London-derby against West Ham on Monday.
The player of the season for Chelsea in the last campaign, the Brazilian will once again play an important role in the side this season and will be hoping to emulate or even better his performance from the previous season.
Though not able to impress in the previous season, Oscar is an exciting player who fits well into Conte’s style of play and he might be the man who will play just in behind the striker as the Brazilian tries to re-invent himself under the new manager.
The Belgian, who took a lot of stick in the previous season for under-performing was back to his sizzling best at the fag end of the season and was impressive in the EUROs and in the pre-season friendlies. He will be one of the first names on the team-sheet for Conte next season.
With Diego Costa still linked with a move away from Chelsea and Lukaku not any closer to a move to the club, Michy Batshuayi remains Conte’s best option at the moment and is expected to start the game against West Ham on Monday.
What do you think Conte’s strongest XI is for the London-derby?