Italians seem to have a way to succeed at Chelsea. Gianfranco Zola, Gianluca Vialli, and more recently, Carlo Ancelotti have all captured the interest of Chelsea fans one way or the other. Antonio Conte had to follow great footsteps and it appears that the former Juventus manager has successfully done so. Even though he has yet to complete his first full season at Stamford Bridge, Conte has already become the darling of the masses with his joyful expressions on the touchline. Moreover, Conte has subtly made some key differences that will echo his name for many years to come.
Manchester City’s draw with Stoke City means that Chelsea has a 10-point advantage at the top of the table with 11 games remaining. It is no wonder that EPL betting odds from CrownBet cast Chelsea as favourites to win the title. The present advantage is seen as being substantial even though Chelsea are yet to play the two Manchester clubs in the remaining 11 games.
The Blues do not necessarily have a great advantage against the other top teams. Chelsea may have managed home wins over Manchester United and Arsenal, but Conte will not be counting his chickens just yet. It is still anyone’s game at this point.
A hallmark of Chelsea since the turn of the millennium has been their defensive solidarity. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho may criticise Chelsea’s defensive play, but he was the manager who established this quality into the club. Conte, on the other hand, has refined this quality with a new system.
It is easy to lose focus when you’re at the top of the table with such a handsome lead as Chelsea has. Yet, Antonio Conte seems to have shutout his players from the mind games of the opposition manager and from the pressure of the games. Chelsea has been focused on the task at hand – getting three points from a game.
While Jose Mourinho previously showed Chelsea’s counter-attacking strength under his leadership, Conte has taken this attribute to the next level. Possessing players like Eden Hazard, Willian, Pedro, and Diego Costa certainly allows any team to play to their counter-attacking strength, but Conte has fine-tuned the tactics to make the team clinical and efficient.
Individuals like Eden Hazard and Diego Costa can change the game on their own, but Conte has placed importance on the team rather than individuals. It appears that every player has adhered to this philosophy without second thoughts. It is one of the reasons for Conte to ride over times when Costa has been unavailable this season.
Jose Mourinho thrived on creating headlines, but Conte has allowed results to do the talking. His lack of interest in getting involved in mind games has certainly been a breath of fresh air.
In his own subtle way, Conte has certainly turned Chelsea into an even better team. We can’t wait to see what more Conte has in store for Chelsea fans! Conte would most likely receive a much deserved pay hike if he leads Chelsea to winning the Premier League title.