After a terrible 10th place finish last season nobody thought that with three games remaining this year they would be able to say Chelsea look like winning the title this time around. The team needs just one win so it is likely Antonio Conte will lift the trophy.
“”Conte nuovo “allenatore” della Nazionale. È tutto oro quello che luccica?”” by Nazionale Calcio (CC BY 2.0)
Conte has done exceptionally well in his debut season in England and it’s obvious why. After Chelsea suffered consecutive defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool back in September Conte made the switch to a 3-4-3 formation. The tactics have proven to be very successful as Chelsea have lost three games from the 29 fixtures since those losses and are now favourites in Premier League winner odds.
The use of 3-4-3 has allowed players like Victor Moses to flourish. Conte brought Moses back into the squad and put him in a wing-back role, which lets Moses to play freely, he never has to defend too much and can focus on using his pace and strength going forward as a winger.
Moses is also able to attack so much thanks to the players behind him. Conte brought back David Luiz for his second stint with the club and many people a lot of people questioned the decision. He looked a liability at the back when he played in a formation with two centre backs, but with the 3-4-3 he can rely on other players for back-up.
“David Luiz” by Ronnie Macdonald (CC BY 2.0)
Luiz can thank Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta for helping him out at the back. The latter has been shifted from a right-back to a left-back and now from a left-back to a centre-back during his time at Chelsea. Conte has moved Azpilicueta into a central role and the Spaniard seems at home in the position, proving to be vital as he has played every game this season and pushed John Terry out of contention.
Conte has been a mastermind in the transfer market as well as the switch in tactics. Along with bringing Luiz back, Conte has strengthened his midfield and signed Premier League winner N’Golo Kante, who won this term’s PFA Player of the Year.
Kante made his mark on the Premier League last season with Leicester and continued his form this year. He has kept Fabregas out of the starting XI on a number of occasions. His intense running and brilliant reading of the game have been vital for Conte’s side.
Nobody can deny that Conte has been tactility brilliant, but not having to play in Europe has been massive. However, a lot of teams in the Premier League don’t play in Europe and still don’t manage to get near the top of the table – Conte has managed it because he has a consistent squad.
Conte has used the same starting eleven for almost every game, he has kept his squad small and played the best 11 players he possibly can every week. There’s been no need to rest players for mid-week games and that has given Conte’s selections for weekend fixtures the biggest chance of winning.