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Chelsea’s defence has been solid this season, and only Tottenham have conceded fewer goals than Chelsea this season (Manchester United have conceded 23 as Chelsea). Although the Blues have been struggling to keep clean sheets since January.

Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore believes Chelsea’s defence have been a key reason why Chelsea have been dominant in the league, and according to Collymore the defence will be important in the game against Manchester City on Wednesday night as well as in the race for the title.

He wrote in his column in the Mirror: “When Antonio Conte arrived in England last summer he did one thing differently to Pep Guardiola — he acknowledged the importance of defending.

“And that’s why with nine games to go his Chelsea team sit top of the Premier League, seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham and 11 clear of Guardiola’s fourth-placed Manchester City.

“Conte seems to have looked at things and said, ‘I’m going to pay massive respect to how the English play.’

“And within four or five games, when they weren’t picking up points and had lost to Liverpool and Arsenal, he went to a back three.

“Then, hey presto, it was all rosy in the garden.

“The security David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta have given them at the back has given the rest of the team a platform, and they have done the business.

He also admitted that Antonio Conte might tell his wing-backs to be a bit deeper and stop City’s counterattacks.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Conte didn’t counter that by telling his wing-backs to stay at home and almost make it a back five on the night.

“If they do push on and play high, there will be space for City’s attacking midfielders to exploit and I could see Sane opening the scoring, as he did at Arsenal on Sunday.

“That said, I still expect a 1-1 draw or a 2-1 home win, with Costa on the scoresheet… and my crystal ball has served me well this season.

“In the grand scheme of things, both clubs would take a point. And if that is the case then Conte’s title tilt, having floundered at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, is back on.

“And it will largely be down to the case he has made for defence.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.