Chelsea have work to do
Antonio Conte, in his short stint so far with his new employer, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, has led a revolution of sorts both off and on the field. The Italian Conte inherited a squad seemingly devoid of passion; a group of individuals that certainly looked uncomfortable on the pitch the previous season under Jose Mourinho. Downing tools was a damning indictment aimed at several key members of the playing staff last season, Chelsea FC was, looking like a club in disarray. A nurturing influence, a positive entity was required to rejuvenate the Stamford Bridge brigade.
Conte has achieved this in spades, in all probability he has perhaps even over-achieved in his first season. Chelsea FC would have identified a top four finish as the minimum requirement from the season. A difficult job in trying circumstances as, current champions Leicester aside, six rival clubs would all be vying for the seriously coveted top four berth – all big spending in the summer, the two Manchester clubs with brand new managers at the helm themselves.
Despite a tricky start including defeats at Arsenal and by Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, Conte took stock and reverted back to a tactical formation that would, in the first instance, make the team more compact and harder for the opposition to break down. The result has been that Chelsea FC have almost cantered to the Premier League title. The players and manager have almost been relentless, the players hoping to put the previous disastrous season to bed.
Though not mathematically certain it is almost inevitable that Chelsea will fill one of the much sought after Champion League positions; Antonio Conte will be looking forward in engaging the best of Europe’s top sides. But after a season without continental competition Conte may feel that a slight restructuring of the squad may be in order for the step up in class and playing demands of the Champions League.
We will analyse and suggest several options open to Antonio Conte to ensure his brilliant first season in English football transfers into European dominance.