Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is known for his no-nonsense approach during his spell at Serie A champions Juventus and this will put him in good stead for the task ahead. After a poor 2015/2016 season, a lot will have to be fixed at the Bridge to help the club bounce back. Bookmakers such as the ones on Online Sportsbook site are already taking bets on where Conte finish next season, the jury is already out on the Italian.
This time last year, the blues were in jubilation mood, under current Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho. The club had just completed a successful Premier league season, disappointing Uefa Champions League exit on away goal, and an FA cup defeat in the hand of Bradford. The season ended with just four defeats in all competitions, a Premier League and Capital One Cup double.
That summer, two club legends Didier Drogba and Petr Cech left the West London club, signaling the beginning of the end for the club’s most successful manager in history, Jose Mourinho. As at December, the blues were occupying the 16th position with just fifteen points, which led to the Portuguese losing his job.
Despite the appointment of Guus Hiddink, who took over on interim basis, the club settled for a mid-table finish, which was the blues worst league showing since 1995/1996 Premier league season.
It remains a mystery, how a side that dominated the English Premier league in the first two seasons of Jose Mourinho’s second spell in charge of the club could suffer such a huge demise within a short space of time. It was a season that saw the big teams like Arsenal, both Manchester clubs, Liverpool, and, Tottenham all suffered inconsistency, and a surprise champion emerged in Leicester City.
After the departure of the legends in the summer of 2015, the squad was reinforced with Pedro, Radamel Falcao and Asmir Begovic to ensure stiff competition for places in the squad that is looking to defend the two titles won the previous season.
No doubt, serious work needs to be done on the squad by the incoming manager, as the current Chelsea side is not in total chaos as people thought it to be. All Conte needs to do to this squad in my opinion is to rejuvenate a team that lacked confidence and inspiration in the 2015/16 season and no need to rebuild the squad.
I believe the current Chelsea squad has the required personnel to negotiate a successful season. Belgium goal keeper, Thibaut Courtoisis regarded as one of the greatest goal keepers in the World; Cesar Azpilcueta is the kind of utility defender any manager would want in his team; young French man Kurt Zouma can form the spine of a reliable defence for years to come; Cesc Fabregas is one of the best passer of the ball in the World; Conte has plenty of creativity and firepower to call upon in the triumvirate of Diego Costa, Willian and Eden Hazard.
Despite all the players mentioned above, the squad still requires couple of injection. New players need to be bought by the new manager and he must stop the over reliance on individual brilliance of some players, and work on collective fluency of the team. The West London club had to rely on moment of brilliance from the likes of Fabregas, Hazard and Costa to negotiate the second stanza of the 2014/2015 season.
For Conte to build a credible team against next season, the squad should be built around the above mentioned players, as well as bringing in few exceptional players in order to build a competitive team. It’s been rumored that Conte is a big fan of Juan Cuadrado and its believed that the Columbian will return to the bridge this summer.
In Chelsea’s assault for silverware next season, Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku are being touted to joining Chelsea’s attacking option, with the departure of Falcao, Pato and imminent departure of French man Loic Remy.
Belgian duo of Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard among other players suffered confidence issues last season, although Hazard upped his game in the final weeks of the campaign, Conte’s biggest challenge is to repair the fragile confidence level of the players. Paramount to Chelsea’s success next season will be to ensure the team has a dependable goal keeper and creativity behind the strikers.
Chelsea fans should see next season as the club laying the foundations for the next decade of success, as it will be a season of rebuilding. A top four finish is more realistic.