Blog

Analysing The Conte Effect As Footballing Masterclass Continues

0
Smart Bets graphic on Conte effect

Life is pretty good as a Chelsea fan at the moment as the Conte effect takes hold. Our traditional rivals have been stumbling and we top the table, something that seemed like a distant pipedream only a couple of months ago.

Since Antonio Conte switched to 3-4-3, Chelsea have seen vast improvements on the pitch, according to research carried out by SmartBets, the customisable odds comparison site powered by bettingexpert.com

This data may go back to the 18th of November but the victories over Tottenham and Manchester City have been anchored in the change in system by Antonio Conte and the passion of the team to carry it through.

The games against Spurs and Man City also saw the Blues show the character and desire to win that they have. Chelsea went a goal down in each of these games but powered back to take the game away from their rivals.

The Conte Effect

Smart Bets graphic on Conte effect

These stats show what we have seen on the pitch in stat form, we are stronger going forward and tighter defensively. Combine the two and you get a team that is hard to beat

Chelsea are down to an average of 52.6% in the possession statistics, but this shows that Conte’s side are doing more with the ball when they have it. Pass succession is up to 83.2% from 81% and their unpredictability is proving hard to handle.

The inclusion on wing-backs Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso allows Eden Hazard more freedom and Chelsea have completed an average of 15.1 dribbles per game using the new formation, which is the second highest in the Premier League.

An average of 66.2 direct balls per game is already higher than the 62.5 accumulated during the start of the season and the Blues are topping the table in most goals from open play.

Conte has brought defensive solidity to Stamford Bridge with his side conceding just 8.4 shots per game, compared to last season’s 12.7.  They’re also averaging 21.8 tackles and 17.2 important interceptions since reverting to 3-4-3 – which is considerably higher than last season and the first six matches.

Long live the Conte effect

 

Conte Overcomes Chelsea November Curse

0

November has been a tricky month for Chelsea managers in recent years, however three wins saw Antonio Conte Overcome the Chelsea November curse and top the table.

The month of November has caused problems for Carlo Ancelotti, Felipe Scolari and Roberto Di Matteo in the past.

With the international break sandwiched in the middle of the month, Conte was fortunate to have two out of the three games the Blues played at home. However, Everton and Tottenham are tough opponents.

We now going into December with a busy Christmas and a tough trip to the Etihad, but now we have a firm base to build on to consolidate a top four finish and possibly push for better.

Conte Overcomes Chelsea November Curse

Getting two victories from these games is a notable achievement, in the away game of the month Chelsea were expected to beat Middlesbrough.Something they did with a controlled performance that kept the run going and added some steel to the praise that has been heaped on the Blues.

The run continues, we have now one seven games on the trot in the Premier League. The victories against Tottenham and Manchester United were magnificent in different ways. By beating our former manager comprehensively a monkey was removed from our back.

The defeat against Tottenham showed grit and determination and helped us get one over on our London rivals, nothing is sweeter than walking out of Stamford Bridge with that feeling.

Are We In The Title Race?

Seven games won on the trot and topping the league in November are good signs for our season. However nothing is won this early in the season and the competition at the top is the toughest it has been for years.

We have a team full of confidence and our star players are performing. If we have a good December the belief will grow and anything can happen. Now though it is just nice to get past a normally tricky month on a high.

Victor Moses Wing Back Role Hope To Chelsea Youngsters

0
Victor Moses Wing Back

There are 30-40 professional footballers that should take heart from seeing Victor Moses wing back role for Chelsea. Seeing Moses bursting up and down the wing for the Blues is a beacon that joining Chelsea is not footballing pergatory for everyone.

He gives youth products hope that being sent out on loan does not mean they will not get a chance at Chelsea.

Moses joined Chelsea when we were Champions of Europe and Wigan were still in the Premier League. I remember travelling to Wigan for our league fixture against them and Moses being serendaded with “Victor Moses we’ll see you next week” as rumours he was joining Chelsea grew.

Victor Moses An Eternity On Loan

He played a bit part role under Roberto Di Matteo and then the other manager that year as we won the Europa League. With the arrival of Jose Mourinho he was deemed surplus to requirements and sent out on loan to Liverpool.

Two more seasons of loan spells followed, despite Moses showing flashes of talent during every pre-season. He must have been feeling this time a year ago that his career at Chelsea was over.  Then last season happened and Antonio Conte became manager and Moses got his customary pre-season chance and took it.

Convincing Conte he had something to offer and surviving the annual loan farming that occurs.

Victor Moses Wing Back Born

 

Moses started the season as an impact substitute coming on for the last 15-20 minutes of the odd game. The defeat to Arsenal forced Conte into a tactical rethink and “Victor Moses Wing Back” was born.

Since then CHelsea have played 6 Premier League games without conceding and Moses has been ever present. He has been the break out player of the 3-4-3 formation with a perfect defensive record supplemented by one goal and one assist.

It looks like Moses is now the first name on the team sheet and growing with every game, his attitude seems perfect. Young Chelsea players should look to him as an example of patience and the right mental attitude.

See Victor Moses season stats here – http://www.espnfc.co.uk/player/112547/victor-moses

Can Chelsea Keep Former Player Quiet To Continue Winning Run Against Toffees?

1
Chelsea goal celebration after WIllian scores against Burnley
Image courtesy of @J_D_Fletcher_ on Twitter

Chelsea look to extend our run of four consecutive Premier League victories at home to Everton. Things are certainly feeling good around Stamford Bridge. Conte had one of the best Octobers that Chelsea

Things are certainly feeling good around Stamford Bridge. Conte had one of the best Octobers that Chelsea have had in recent months but continuing this into November will be dependent on keeping Romelu Lukaku quiet.

Antonio Conte had one of the best Octobers that Chelsea have had in recent months but continuing this into November will be dependent on keeping Romelu Lukaku quiet.

The former Chelsea striker has been on fire this season and if you believe Football Focus pundit Dean Saunders he will score again today. The man who ended Paul Elliott’s career claims it is inevitable he will score against us.

Lukaku Motivated To Punish Chelsea

The motivation will obviously be there Lukaku felt he was not given a chance at the Blues and despite a Champions League medal. This bitterness to his time here is bound to drive him to produce a performance. He has of course done this before with his goals knocking us out of the FA Cup last season.

The Belgian is a fine player, but lacks the right mentality or consistency for a Premier League season as the number one striker for a top 6 side. On form though he is one of the best strikers in Europe so understandably many want to see him back at the Bridge.

His form will prove a major test for the 3-4-3 formation that has sparked the fine run of results. It will be vital that Lukaku is kept quiet and marshalled by the spare man in the middle, with the wing backs cutting out his supply from out wide.

Let’s hope he has a quiet night at Stamford Bridge and does not raise his game to prove a point once again.

Can we start to mention the “T” word?

0

Antonio Conte has played down the significance of being contenders to finish at the summit next May like a cool, calculated poker player who knows he has a very strong hand, but it hard not to believe that Chelsea have a realistic opportunity of challenging for the title.

Four straight wins, combined with four clean sheets, is certainly the form of potential champions. Anyone who tells you otherwise are either cautious of getting their hopes up after just ten games, or support one of the other teams currently at the top.

Betway continue to shorten our odds on finishing as champions in the latest Premier League betting market, and going by our latest performance, it is easy to see why. I was thoroughly impressed by the comprehensive and convincing manner of our 2-0 victory at Southampton, given how difficult it is to go to St. Mary’s and get a result.

Two superb goals and an excellent performance to boot, Conte seems to have found the perfect formula to get us bang on form at both ends of the pitch.

I think it is easy to see just how big an impact Conte has made since arriving at the Bridge. He walked through the doors amid an air of optimism following a strong Euro 2016 campaign in charge of Italy, but instead of rushing in like a bull in a china shop and making wholesale changes, he stuck with the same system that his predecessors used and gave the players an opportunity to impress.

If we are being honest, we should not have felt surprised at what happened; the team looked flat, unorganised and lacking confidence as Chelsea were a carbon copy of the side that endured a never-ending nightmare last season.

It was enough for Conte to enforce the style of play that proved so successful during three years in charge at Juventus, as not only has a switch to a back three made a big difference to how defensively resolute the team are, but a greater emphasis on building from the back and moving the ball quickly allowing us to enjoy some superb football.

We can all agree that Eden Hazard’s return to his brilliant best is more than welcome after a year where he was completely unrecognisable from the player who was simply irresistible throughout the 2014/2015 campaign.

The Belgian wizard has really been on top of his game alongside Diego Costa who, despite the continuous rubbish about his over-aggressive persona, is scoring goals for fun at the moment and may long it continue. You would also be hard pressed to find anyone who has seen Victor Moses play as well as he has been as a Chelsea shirt, with the Nigerian winger reborn as a right-sided wing-back who offers excellent protection at the back and a real threat going forwards.

I could name more who have really stood out, but the greatest quality of Conte’s Chelsea team is their collective spirit and unity; you could see just how much the win at Southampton meant to the players who worked hard for one another, with the only criticism being that they did not win by a greater margin.

It is no surprise that Chelsea’s odds of winning under Antonio Conte on Betway’s website, both in terms of every game that comes along and the Premier League title, are extremely strong right now. Every aspect of our game is on point at the moment, with Conte working wonders to build a structure back three that includes a player in David Luiz that many felt was not disciplined enough to focus on doing the dirty work in defence. Combine that with our ability to break down opposition forays into our half through N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, along with fast-paced attacks and clinical finish at the other end, and what you have is a team capable of mounting a serious title challenge.

Antonio Conte has played down the significance of being contenders to finish at the summit next May like a cool, calculated poker player who knows he has a very strong hand, but it hard not to believe that Chelsea have a realistic opportunity of challenging for the title.

Four straight wins, combined with four clean sheets, is certainly the form of potential champions. Anyone who tells you otherwise are either cautious of getting their hopes up after just ten games, or support one of the other teams currently at the top. Betway continue to shorten our odds on finishing as champions in the latest Premier League betting market, and going by our latest performance, it is easy to see why.

I was thoroughly impressed by the comprehensive and convincing manner of our 2-0 victory at Southampton, given how difficult it is to go to St. Mary’s and get a result. Two superb goals and an excellent performance to boot, Conte seems to have found the perfect formula to get us bang on form at both ends of the pitch.

I think it is easy to see just how big an impact Conte has made since arriving at the Bridge. He walked through the doors amid an air of optimism following a strong Euro 2016 campaign in charge of Italy, but instead of rushing in like a bull in a china shop and making wholesale changes, he stuck with the same system that his predecessors used and gave the players an opportunity to impress. If we are being honest, we

If we are being honest, we should not have felt surprised at what happened; the team looked flat, unorganised and lacking confidence as Chelsea were a carbon copy of the side that endured a never-ending nightmare last season.

It was enough for Conte to enforce the style of play that proved so successful during three years in charge at Juventus, as not only has a switch to a back three made a big difference to how defensively resolute the team are, but a greater emphasis on building from the back and moving the ball quickly allowing us to enjoy some superb football.

We can all agree that Eden Hazard’s return to his brilliant best is more than welcome after a year where he was completely unrecognisable from the player who was simply irresistible throughout the 2014/2015 campaign.

The Belgian wizard has really been on top of his game alongside Diego Costa who, despite the continuous rubbish about his over-aggressive persona, is scoring goals for fun at the moment and may long it continue. You would also be hard pressed to find anyone who has seen Victor Moses play as well as he has been as a Chelsea shirt, with the Nigerian winger reborn as a right-sided wing-back who offers excellent protection at the back and a real threat going forwards. I could name more who have really stood out, but the greatest quality of Conte’s Chelsea team is their collective spirit and unity; you could see just how much the win at Southampton meant to the players who worked hard for one another, with the only criticism being that they did not win by a greater margin.

 

 

It is no surprise that Chelsea’s odds of winning under Antonio Conte on Betway’s website, both in terms of every game that comes along and the Premier League title, are extremely strong right now. Every aspect of our game is on point at the moment, with Conte working wonders to build a structure back three that includes a player in David Luiz that many felt was not disciplined enough to focus on doing the dirty work in defence. Combine that with our ability to break down opposition forays into our half through N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, along with fast-paced attacks and clinical finish at the other end, and what you have is a team capable of mounting a serious title challenge.

I do not want to get carried away and believe, with some certainty, that we will finish as champions come the end of May, but the next few fixtures could prove decisive. Facing Everton at the Bridge before yet another international break (yawn) will be a strong test of our credentials, with following games against Middlesbrough (A), Tottenham (H) and Manchester City (A) also not standing out as what some would define as “easy.” We are currently a point behind the league leaders at present, and if Chelsea remain in a similar, or better, position at the start of December, then the “T” word could grow in volume.

 

 

Sad That Olympic Stadium Crowd Trouble So Predictable

0
Olympic Stadium Crowd trouble has been an issue at the Olympic Stadium ever since West Ham moved in

Last night is the reason why football fans can’t have nice things, the Olympic Stadium crowd trouble was so predictable.

The taxpayers buy an expensive stadium and allow West Ham United to use it for pennies and how do the fans react. By fighting at every game and literally ripping seats from the ground.

Once again football fans and not the action on the pitch was what made the nightly news.

Some reading this may harp back to the 80’s and glorify this, but its not my thing. Whilst not a prawn sandwich eater, I like my football without the prospect of a chair or a fist to the face.

West Ham United and Olympic Stadium Trouble

The annoying thing about last night is that everyone knew what was going to happen but the club’s rent-a-steward army were still unable to keep things in check.

Chelsea fans, West Ham United fans the stadium security and the police all knew that the steps and segregation were inadequate.

Football is not the sanitised operation like hosting an Olympics, it needs experienced stewards that can build a rapport with home fans and stop situations escalating.

It is unacceptable that E20 the company that manage the Olympic Stadium have failed to get it together after three months of football at the stadium.

Olympic Stadium Crowd Trouble and West Ham United

West Ham United and the Olympic Stadium management company knew what to expect.

We know this because there has been crowd trouble on some scale at almost every game West Ham United have played.

Thankfully nobody in attendance was seriously hart by the coins, chairs and assorted missles being thrown. Undoubtedly there were Chelsea fans involved, however this is one crowd disturbance where the blame does not lie at our door.

The game did not sell out and Chelsea were denied a full allocation, there is no reason why West Ham United and the stadium could not have stopped it happening.

Moving to a new stadium is always tricky, moving groups of fans to different areas and then staffing your stewards with temps was never going to work out well.

Let’s hope they get their act together before our next trip in the league to the Olympic Stadium. Olympic Stadium crowd trouble is a preventable problem.

Beating Mourinho Allows Chelsea To Move On From Special One

0
Chelsea move on after beating Mourinho

It took six years for Chelsea Football Club to get over the impact of Jose Mourinho’s first trophy-laden time at Stamford Bridge. Beating Mourinho on Sunday may help make the mourning period much shorter second time around.

Mourinho The First Time He Left

His presence and the impact he had on the psyche of the team, made the job of meeting expectations and winning over the players impossible for some of the biggest names in football.

Mourinho had the same impact on fans, who pined for his return. As he moved from Milan to Madrid and managers came and went at Stamford Bridge. We felt our true leader was missing, a bar that no one even a double winner could live up to.

Moving On From Mourinho

Whilst Ancelotti was strong enough others such as Felipe Scolari and Andre Villas-Boas were never able to illuminate a team cast in his shadow. AVB tried to move the team forward and phase out the Mourinho diehards but lost the battle of player power.

It was not until age moved the spine of the Mourinho team on that managers were able to move on from what he built. It was not until the Champions League victory in 2012 that you could truly say that the spectre of Mourinho had left the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho returned to Chelsea and after winning the title in his second season things turned sour quickly in his third and he was gone by December.

Although Mourinho had not built the dynasty that he had in his first spell, there was a lingering fear that he would continue to cast a shadow over the team. This was not helped when he moved to Manchester United in the summer, a constant reminder to players and fans of what used to be.

Beating Mourinho Impact

Much was made of his return on Sunday and what the reaction would be, from the fans he got a pleasant one, but it was clear that the spell had been broken. Always a club legend the hero worship of his first spell had diminished.

The result put a clear line between him and new manager Antonio Conte. As Mourinho wheeled out his usual mix of deflection and distraction Conte remained focussed on moving Chelsea forward.

This is why beating Mourinho and Manchester United was more than just three points.

It was the moment that Chelsea were able to move on from his second spell in charge of the club. It was the moment focus shifted.

Mourinho will never be forgotten but the fans have moved onto focus on Chelsea and not his escapades at Old Trafford.

 

Horror Jose Mourinho Return Perfect For Chelsea Fans & Players

0

Chelsea moved past the Jose Mourinho return, in emphatic fashion as the Special One saw his new team destroyed by a Chelsea team finding its feet under Antonio Conte.

The shadow of Jose Mourinho stalked the Chelsea managers that followed after his first spell at the club. With him taking the Manchester United job there was a fear that history could repeat itself.

Unhappy players, a toxic atmosphere and accusations of treachery marred the end of Jose Mourinho’s time at Stamford Bridge as fans saw the man they saw as the club’s talisman leave the club in ignominy.

No one really knew what to expect and how long it would take for Chelsea to move on from the second departure of a club legend.

Jose Mourinho Return An Acid Test

The first test of this would be Jose Mourinho return to Stamford Bridge just a couple of months after taking the reins at Old Trafford.

It took just 36 seconds for Pedro to set the tone and give Chelsea the lead. This destroyed Mourinho’s air of invincibility to fans and Manchester United’s gameplan in an instant.

Chelsea never looked back and strolled to a four-goal victory built on the foundations of a different tactical approach than Mourinho brought to Stamford Bridge.

Many of the players that Antonio Conte picked were at the club under Jose Mourinho, but the way they were used by the Italian today was a world apart from under the Special One. was

The 5-3-1 stifled Manchester United going forward but released Hazard and Pedro on the counter attack.

Everyone at Chelsea needed this result, the fans to move away from Mourinho’s aura, the players to move on from the darker days last winter and the new manager to show a new approach to football at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho will always be loved at Stamford Bridge but the signs are that the second time we will move on faster than we did the first time.

Tommorow Is About Matthew Harding Tribute Not Jose Mourinho

0

Despite the hype for Chelsea fans tommorow is about remembering Matthew Harding tributes to him and not the return of Jose Mourinho.

Who Is Matthew Harding

Twenty years ago today a man that proved that Chelsea legends can be made off the pitch as well as on it died in a helicopter crash.

To the millions of Chelsea fans around the globe that started following the club after his death, the name Matthew Harding may only be known for the stand that bears his name.

A stand where his family still have season tickets and several family members have been invited to the Manchester United game as guests of the club to mark the anniversary of his death.

However, for those old enough to remember him, he will always be the iconic fan that used his fortune to help support his passion. He fought for his vision of what the club needed to succeed and had pitched battles with then chairman Ken Bates.

How Matthew Harding Changed Chelsea

He died on the way back from watching Chelsea lose in the League Cup to Bolton and the stand that he helped finance was named in his honour. Just months later Chelsea would go on to win the FA Cup for the first time in a quarter of a century.

His approach to football and the money he invested helped change the way that Chelsea Football Club operated and laid the foundations that led us to where we are today.

If there had been no Matthew Harding at Chelsea there would have been no FA Cup in 1997, no Champions League football and ultimately no Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea Mark The Anniversary

The club is using tickets for this afternoon’s fixture and the  matchday programme to show a visual tribute. The one-off retro cover takes its inspiration from the programme issued for the first match after Harding’s death, a 3-1 win over Spurs.

Fans will also be unveiling a banner in his honour.

 

Chelsea Youth Development Boosted By Injury & Transfer Market

0
Chelsea Youth Development under Antonio Conte

Chelsea youth development or the lack of it in the first team is famous. It is continuously debated by fans, bloggers, pundits, journalists and former players.

Chelsea fans wants to see Chelsea youth players break into the first team and contribute to a winning team, however, are unsure if there will ever be the right environment for it to happen for even the most talented player.

Chelsea have one of the best youth set-ups in the country but it has yet to bear fruit for us. It has been successful in creating dozens of professional players plying their trade elsewhere or out on loan. Yet not since John Terry has Chelsea youth development had something to hang its hat on.

Instead of using the youth team managers have repeatedly bought in ready made players. Transfer inflation and competition may be about to change that in the squad positions.

Why Chelsea Youth Development Is A Challenge

Talent is sculpted over time before it is ready for display. So far Chelsea have invested heavily in chisels but failed to find the right subject or the bravery to put it on display.

Picking young players is a calculated gamble by managers. Even last season when there was nothing to play for, experience trumped youth development. This is fuelled by the pressure for results. Which has  created a culture where this is more likely to be punished than rewarded.

What Could Have Changed For Conte

A lack of investment in marquee players during the transfer window due to rampant price inflation and competitiveness for top players, has created an opportunity for Chelsea youth.

Against Leicester injury and lack of alternatives meant that there were four Chelsea youth products sat next to John Terry on the bench.

Two came on as substitutes as we cruised to victory. This could be something we see throughout the season. For the first time in years, we could see multiple youth team products making 10 -15 league appearances in supporting roles.

Hopefully one or two will be able to break through and claim a regular starting place. This is a dream that seems far away at the moment. Yet a few good performances from a prospect and who knows.

We are not there yet but the future of Chelsea youth development looks bright under Antonio Conte in our present set of circumstances.