Thursday, 16 November 2017

Four ways Antonio Conte can breath life into his Chelsea team


Now that the Premier League season is taking shape, we have reached a point where clubs begin to reassess what their targets are for the campaign.

Invest in leadership

Conte wanted experienced players this summer, particularly with the departure of the long-serving John Terry. Leonardo Bonucci, Fernando Llorente and Antonio Candreva were all top targets: with an average age of over 30 years old, they had proven experience of winning trophies. Instead, Chelsea signed Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata. Quality players, but so far none have imposed themselves on a team struggling to find its leaders. That's why the January transfer window is so crucial.

Protect Cesc

With the sale of Nemanja Matic and the injury to N'Golo Kante, Conte has left Fabregas criminally exposed in the middle of the park. Danny Drinkwater isn't a top quality replacement, so N'Golo Kante must be looked after for the remainder of the campaign. Without his buzzing diligence in midfield, Fabregas and Chelsea look woefully vulnerable.

Give Batshuayi a bash

The Belgian had a better goals-to-minute ratio than Harry Kane last season, a campaign in which he popped up to score vital goals for his manager. Yet the 24-year-old still struggles for a sniff in this Chelsea team. Nobody is saying he should replace Morata in the starting line-up. But Batshuayi is a proven goalscorer who could do a job for his team if only Conte let him once in a while.

Play David Luiz in midfield (or don't play him at all)

Luiz was impregnable last year, winning over the doubters with a campaign that spoke of a new-found maturity. This season, though, he's reverted to type, gallivanting out of position and making a litany of errors to undermine his team. With his continuing lack of subordination – including openly criticising Conte for his tactics during the 3-0 reverse to Roma – Luiz is a luxury that can't be indulged in the centre of defence. He may yet prove useful in the centre of midfield, though.

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