Antonio Conte has done a fantastic job in his first season as Chelsea manager; he has brought back the winning mentality to the team, has made Chelsea stronger defensively and the team spirit is clearly evident.
In the beginning, no one actually believed we’d be top of the league at this stage of the season, and all Chelsea fans wanted was a Champions League spot (including me). So we must appreciate the work Conte has done so far.
However, two things I learned from the draw against Burnley is that Diego Costa needs to find back his form, and we need Cesc Fabregas more than Nemanja Matic when we face teams who are intent on parking the bus.
I hate to admit it, but Costa has been struggling for form since his reported bust up with Conte, and the reported interest from money bags, China. He scored on his return against Hull City, but that has been his only return ever since, and he barely gets a shot on target anymore. One could argue that the services from the midfield have been inefficient, but he has barely used the ones he has been served with, and we all saw how he even scored from half chances earlier in the season.
Costa has been instrumental for us this season, but his goals are beginning to dry up, and the 28-year-old who was topping the scorers’ chart, is now being left behind in the race for the Golden Boot.
Furthermore, there has been this debate among Chelsea fans over Matic and Fabregas. Matic has indeed been fabulous for Chelsea this season, and it’s unfair when Chelsea fans criticise him. The Serbian has been a powerhouse in the Chelsea midfield, and he’s a huge reason why Chelsea are top of the league. His absence in the Chelsea midfield against Manchester City showed us the difference in ability between the Serbian and Chelsea pass master, Cesc Fabregas.
While Fabregas sprayed the passes all over the pitch at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ran Chelsea midfield ragged, as Fabregas left all the dirty jobs for N’Golo Kante.
In Fabregas and Matic, we have two very different players that’ll aid our cause, as we fight for the league this season. While I believe Matic is better against teams who are intent on attacking, Fabregas holds the key when we face teams who just want to sit deep and frustrate our attack. The game against Burnley showed us all how Fabregas will be very important in such a fixture. Furthermore, Costa plays better when there is a Fabregas in the midfield.