Nothing can be more petulant than experiencing a low point after a high one. That was the case with Chelsea and Conte. The club’s midweek demolition of Spanish heavyweights Atletico Madrid on their own turf – the Wanda Metropolitan stadium, this was believed to be a new dawn for Chelsea and English football after years in the gulag of mediocrity. And by so doing, Chelsea became the first English side to win them at their home. A record that earned Conte’s ‘extraordinary players’ much praise and plaudits.
But the next question was on the domestic front: Can Chelsea beat City to charge their title defence? At the end, City dominated, outplayed and won Chelsea. The margin of the defeat doesn’t tell the whole story as Chelsea looked a different team from the one that defeated Atletico. Conte can bemoan lack of preparation time and ill luck (with Morata’s injury in mind), but the fact his Chelsea side rarely threatened City is a big worry.
Here are 3 areas he needs to improve Chelsea:
MORATA’S REPLACEMENT OPTIONS:
A turning point in Chelsea’s game against City was the withdrawal of in-form striker, Alvaro Morata. The injury by the Spaniard should be a huge worry for Conte as Chelsea would miss his contributions. More painful is the fact that Conte clearly lacks the ideal replacement he would have loved (Fernando Llorente-esque striker). Though Batshuayi is also in a rich vein of form, but doesn’t seem trusted by his manager. How Conte solves his conundrum will be key to Chelsea’s season. He has to come up with a strategy to risk falling short of expectations.
THE FORM OF CHELSEA’S WIDE WING-FORWARDS/INFIELD ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS:
One reeling issue that needs to be resolved is the form of Willian and Pedro. Both players seem to be off form and fitness this season. The form of both players was instrumental in last season’s title triumph, and so their contributions will also be vital in our hectic fixture schedule. Also, they will help ease the burden on Hazard and Morata.
One reason for Conte’s success last season was his tactical nous which birthed the 3-4-3 formation. Now, it seems teams have found a way to play against Chelsea. Another tactical variation will help dispel thoughts of Chelsea vulnerability due to the predictability in our tactical play and setup. The need for new ideas is essential.
Let’s act fast before we are left far too behind. Cheers!