“Chelsea Football Club” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland
Chelsea have made an imperious start to the season, dominating the majority of their opponents to put them on course for their fifth Premier League crown. Antonio Conte and his style of play have made a seamless transition into English football, with the Italian already getting the better of some of his more established counterparts.
Conte drew the ire of his predecessor Jose Mourinho when celebrating the Blues’ emphatic 4-0 win over Manchester United on the sideline at Stamford Bridge. However, the 46-year-old is fully justified celebrating his side’s impressive form in the opening months of the campaign, including their drubbing of the Red Devils.
The Blues were roared on to success by a sell-out crowd at the Bridge, and it will be important to depend on that level of support given the fact that it would be cheaper for their fans to attend their away matches rather purchase a season ticket, according to a ticket pricing study provided by Voucherbox. Conte’s men will need to be at the peak of their powers week-in week-out to ensure that they regain their Premier League crown, lost last season to Leicester City.
Chelsea had a perfect start to the top-flight term, winning their three matches in August. However, problems emerged in September, when the club failed to win any of their three games, being defeated in back-to-back games by Liverpool at the Bridge and 3-0 in their visit to the Emirates against Arsenal. Their capitulation at the hands of the Gunners prompted a formation change from the Italian and the club have not looked back since.
“Chelsea FC (and Spain) striker Diego Cos” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland
Conte deployed the 3-5-2 system he used with great success at Juventus when the club won three Serie A titles on the bounce. Since the change, the Blues have been dominant and surged to the top of the Premier League ahead of rivals Arsenal and Liverpool. They will certainly be determined not to give up their position until the final whistle of their last contest in May.
Last season, the club produced one of the worst defences of the title since the formation of the Premier League, finishing in 10th place well off the pace for even a Champions League spot. Their form at Stamford Bridge was well below-par, as they collected just 24 points from their 19 matches. This played a huge part in Chelsea’s downfall and is one of the reasons why Mourinho was forced to leave the club in December, just months removed from guiding them to the fourth crown.
“Antonio Conte inazzato minaccia di lasci” (CC BY 2.0) by NazionaleCalcio
In just seven matches this season, the Blues are six points shy of last season’s tally, dropping only three points in their defeat to Liverpool. Should Stamford Bridge remain a fortress throughout the campaign and Conte’s men continue to pick up results like their outstanding 3-1 victory over Manchester City on the road, it will be hard to see any side currently below them ousting Chelsea from pole position.
The festive period is a crucial time in the campaign when fixtures come thick and fast. Conte must ensure that his team are ready for the challenge, which should allow them to pick up an abundance of points – especially in their West London home.