Chelsea, the Champions of England do not find themselves in a very good position in the Premier League table.
They are 9 points away from the league leaders Manchester City. They need to score a lot of points to defend their title and have the time to make up any deficit. But the Blues have to tread carefully and also make sure that they play well in the Champions’ League.
Having to deal with high expectations and dealing with giants like Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola cannot be easy for Antonio Conte. But that is part and parcel of being a part of the big six, the fun of it as many call it. When you are one of the big boys, the hard things, the challenges are what you live for.
Here’s what we think can take them to the top and establish their dominance in the domestic circuit.
Believe in the force that is Antonio Conte.
The board, the fans, the players- the entire Chelsea fraternity must believe in the Italian who has already delivered a title at the Bridge.
There were talks about Conte having trouble with the board because of his high demands in terms of transfer budget and more disputes. Chelsea has to believe in Antonio Conte because he is a proven winner, both in the Serie A and now in England.
He proved it as a player, as a manager with Juventus and now with Chelsea. After all, there is a reason as to why he managed to win not one but three Scudetti with Juventus, in continuous seasons. He knows what he is doing and should be allowed to keep doing it.
Have a stable midfield
Squad rotation is important. It is an important factor if you are playing in Europe. However, a strong base as starting XI is essential and Conte has to take care of the engine room so that the others can play with them. However, he has the luxury of playing someone with a special skillset depending on the opposition.
Rotating continuously with 4-5 different midfielders can lead to a lack of stability- especially if you are playing with a 3-4-3. The ideal combination would be N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko so that other players have to do less in defence. This leaves the likes of Hazard and Willian with lots of space to roam around and the wing-backs can push forward. Cesc Fabregas would be a better option against teams that like to sit back and defend.
Solve the backup striker issue and not get involved with any transfer issues
It is very important for Chelsea to not get into any trouble in the January transfer window. They have a good squad. Getting in a player who is surplus to requirements can lead to discontent in the dressing room and more problems for the club.
The only player they need is a striker willing to play second fiddle to Alvaro Morata for now. With Tammy Abraham on loan and Michi Batshuayi looking set to leave, Conte has one transfer debacle to take care of. There may be two approaches to this:
- Signing a young striker who will be happy to get time off the bench for now or bringing back Tammy Abraham(if he has a recall clause in his loan contract).
- Getting an experienced striker up front who can see them through the title chase and will be an excellent presence in the dressing room.
Avoid any more injuries to key stars
Chelsea has been hit hard by injuries this season. They had Eden Hazard out for some time, Bakayoko arrived injured, Alvaro Morata was injured for a short spell, N’Golo Kante was injured for more than a few weeks and now have Victor Moses out for some time. Chelsea’s medical team may have seen worse and but the club has shown how tough they can be.
However, this season has seen their case-load increase, with the introduction of the Champions League and thus have suffered in the opening stages of both the Premier League and in Europe. But they need to continue to show how tough they can be and they need to do that this term to stand a chance of winning the league.
It is not too late to go on and win the league for the Londoners. Antonio Conte has won it before and he can do it again. However, the intense competition at the top of the table leaves them with no margin for error. Chelsea needs to keep doing what they do best- win.
I personally pick Chelsea as the dark horses in the title race this time (mainly because I do not see Tottenham as contenders). The key here is: when something is not broken, do not try to fix it. Conte needs to be certain about the balance in the club before he tries to make any move- tactical or financial.