Last season, we witnessed one of the most dramatic combustion in Premier League history for a champion. Chelsea struggled to get anything going for large chunks of the season, even when the “poison” of Jose Mourinho was removed from the club. From the dramatic events of last season to the rather calm summer we have “enjoyed” so far at Stamford Bridge, what can we expect from the Blues this year round?
Well, they’ve brought in Antonio Conte. With his hyper-drilled philosophy and specific way of working, he brings similarities to the job that Mourinho did. However, the end result on the pitch is very different – aesthetically, at least. However, Conte is a known taskmaster given his career as a legend at Juventus, one of the most professional and determined clubs on the planet.
In a league where people get upset at the slightest negative against them, and drama follows every word said and ball passed, is Conte a good fit?
Boom or Bust
The main conclusion we have is the old adage – it will either really work, or fall apart dramatically. Conte is a man who abhors half-measures; he’ll go down in a blaze of glory, or he’ll win everything. It’s going to be very interesting, though, to see how a team of players with an ageing core and not exactly the best history of listening to managers/coaches, handle Conte.
Will owner Roman Abramovich finally let a manager deal the damage? Or will he let a core squad win again?
Football is the Game…
The best thing is, though, is that if Conte works he will be amazing to watch. Only Jürgen Klopp exceeds the Italian for pitchside drama, and for meticulous eye for detail. Juventus, at their best under Antonio, were wonderful to watch. The man took Juventus from mediocrity and having a very muddled plan and vision, to being one of the most respected names on the continent once again.
He showed in his time there that he can build teams that play outstanding football. It’s going to be very interesting to see if it works for him, because if it does Chelsea might be one of the most engaging clubs to watch on the pitch.
Building for Europe?
However, the big concern for Conte was his “failure” at Juventus in Europe. Although he got the club to a Europe League semi-final and had some decent spells in Europe, he never turned them into the powerhouse they hoped to be. After Conte, though, “his” squad barged their way to the 2015 UEFA Champions League final. Whilst they lost to an immense Barcelona team, it was his players that got there.
Curiously, though, Conte could never do that himself. If he does manage to get Chelsea back into Europe next season (of which there is no guarantee given the competition) can we expect him to do well there?