On Sunday Chelsea travel to the Riverside Stadium to take on Middlesbrough in what could be potentially tricky fixture for the Blues.
On paper, the teams are grossly mismatched; Boro have won two games all season whereas Chelsea have won five on the trot whilst not conceding a goal.
However, given the break in momentum due to the international break, along with Boro’s habit of jinxing the big sides (draws against Arsenal & City), a draw or even an upset for Chelsea certainly can’t be ruled out.
So, here are 3 things Antonio Conte would hope his Chelsea side does to ensure they maintain their good run of form:
1) Negate the proverbial Middlesbrough bus
Despite it not being an away game, Boro will show Chelsea enough respect by defending deep and looking to hit them on the break. Chelsea have to be at their fluid attacking best to ensure Boro break their defensive shape, thus making it easier to score against them.
2) Fast & strong start and score early
Beginning the game with attacking intent and getting an early goal will go a long way to ensure an easy win for the Blues. Conceding early would force Boro to change their tactics and try to get a goal back and therefore likelier to make defensive errors. This will make goal scoring chances easier to come by for Chelsea.
3) Shut down the home fans
Boro will be reliant on their home fans to create a loud atmosphere to drive them on. In turn, Chelsea must dominate possession and create and take their chances. This will not only give the home fans less reasons to cheer whilst spurring on Chelsea’s away fans, it will gradually kill off the game as well.