Pedro’s strike marked
the 8,000th goal Chelsea have scored in their 112-year history. The first-half
strike was also the 1659th goal scored since the Premier League re-branded in
1992.Those goals have won Chelsea six league titles, seven FA Cup triumphs,
five League Cups and a single victory in both the Champions League and Europa
League over the years.
Pedro won’t be available for the remainder of Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Southeast Asia after being wiped out by Arsenal’s David Ospina in Saturday’s friendly between the two London rivals.
Conte on the injury: “The situation was more serious than I thought because I hoped it would only be concussion and instead he had multiple fractures. With a mask, and in around 10 days, he can come back to work with us.”
10 Things that Contributed to Chelsea’s EPL Success in 2016/2017
Having been crowned the champions of the undisputed Premier League in 2017, we delve into some of the reasons that propelled Chelsea to the top of the league, far ahead of its perennial arch-rivals Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United.
Here are 10 things that made Chelsea FC tick.
1. Revamping Cohesion and Teamwork
Conte moved fast to enhance a sense of unity inside Chelsea by setting up a supper club for all the coaches and players. They could all go out as a group and eat in trendy establishments such as Nobu restaurant.
2. The Signing of N’Golo Kante
Though he came in through a low-key £30 million signing, Kante has obviously been a big asset to the team as he is has been seen to be doing the work of two men.
Voted as the PFA player of the year, the midfielder even managed to enhance his performance in Leicester during their title-winning season. He obviously played a huge role in Chelsea’s EPL title campaign.
3. Bringing Back David Luiz
To many, bringing back the Brazilian was a big gamble for the team, as he seemed not to fit Conte’s safety-first style. However, the Italian tactician created the ideal position for Luiz in between the back three which seemed to work perfectly for him.
4. The Back Three Magic
For a long time, three has remained Chelsea’s magic number. With three goals down against Arsenal at the 55th minute, Conte brought in summer signing Marcos Alonso in the place of Cesc Fabregas; a change that was perhaps the most significant in the season.
The new-look back three went ahead to ensure that the team conceded no more goals. Conte seemed to have finally found a combination he could trust as they went on to beat Hull City.
5. Change of Goalkeeping Coach
Working under Christophe Lollichon was increasingly becoming unbearable for Thibaut Courtois. This prompted Antonio Conte to opt for the services of his own expert, Gianluca Spinelli, a move that convinced the Belgian to stay as his performance improved considerably.
Technically relegating Lollichon, who known to be tight with club owner Roman Abramovich was definitely a very bold move which handsomely paid off.
6. Delivering a Win at Manchester City
It is at this very moment in December 2016 that Conte’s side began believing that they could actually win the EPL title. Just one year earlier, Pep Guardiola’s team would have comfortably beaten them after conceding to one goal and struggling to keep the ball.
However, Conte’s men went ahead to display an impressive clinical edge, which would become a permanent feature of their entire campaign.
7. Catching up with Arsenal’s Record
Conte’s side went ahead to beat Everton, Manchester United, Manchester City, as well as Tottenham Hotspur, in their winning run that caught up with Arsenal’s record in just one season. From October all the way to January, Chelsea was unassailable as they opened up an impressive six-point lead at the table’s apex.
After the Blues’ 13th victory against Stoke, Spurs were already 5th and 13 points behind; a range that was definitely too much close. Apparently, the Italian tactician out-maneuvered Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp.
8. Relegating Diego Costa
This is where things could have gone really wrong. Costa obviously had his head swollen by a huge January offer from Tianjin Quanjian – Chinese club – and hence often quarrelled with Conte during training sessions.
When Conte took the gamble to drop Costa during their trip to Leicester City, the bold decision paid off as they went ahead to win 3-0. The Italian had clearly asserted his authority and Costa would make a goal-scoring comeback the following week when Chelsea played against Hull City.
9. Pedro’s Magical Goal
The Blues’ trip to Everton was the real game changer. It was the last big test of Chelsea’s campaign and they cracked it thanks to Pedro’s magical goal that left many online betting fans’mouths wide open.
The Spaniard’s superb second-half strike will remain edged in the memories of many Chelsea supporters as it made the side cruise to victory crushing hopes Tottenham held onto.
10. Making Hazard Lose Weight
In order to get the best out of Eden Hazard, Conte knew that his first step was to ensure that the Belgian cut down his body fat. He took stringent measures of cutting fizzy drinks, pizza, and ketchup out his players’ diet in order to achieve this goal.
How Antonio Conte’s Chelsea could lineup for the 2017/18 campaign
It’s that time of the year where Chelsea are linked with virtually every two-legged mammal on the planet.
The days of endless links to Hulk and Radamel Falcao are a thing of the past, with the latter (finally) arriving at Stamford Bridge, and failing to replicate the standard of performances he put in elsewhere.
We are now in a new era. An era of Leonardo Bonucci’s and Tiemoue Bakayoko’s. If we signed every player that we have been linked with by the world’s media this summer, Roman Abramovich would soon be declaring bankruptcy.
However, among the plethora of baseless reports, are genuine indications of how Antonio Conte may actually spend his transfer budget this summer. Here’s how Chelsea could line up on the opening day of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign.
GK – Thibaut Courtois
Though he is yet to put pen-to-paper on a contract extension, it’s difficult to see Courtois leaving this summer. The Golden Glove winner is going to be a cornerstone in Antonio Conte’s side again next season.
RCB – Cesar Azpilicueta
A right-back, who was successfully trialled at left-back, who may have found his most comfortable position at centre-back. Azpilicueta continues to surprise us; I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start upfront next term.
CB – David Luiz
Luiz scarcely put a foot wrong last season, and although it is difficult to imagine that he will be a viable long-term option in Conte’s back-three, he definitely has at least another season or two in him at the top.
LCB – Leonardo Bonucci
Piecing this back three together was a challenge, as Bonucci is most comfortable in the middle of the three. However, it’s difficult to see either of the aforementioned being omitted from the side ahead of Gary Cahill, and Bonucci appears to be one of our top targets for the summer window.
RWB – Victor Moses
Moses was one of the surprise packages of the 2016/17 season. A sub-par winger, who was swiftly transformed into an exceptional right-wing-back. Although we do need to draft in another to provide competition for the Nigerian, he has made that spot in the side his own.
CM – Tiemoue Bakayoko
It is only a matter of time before Bakayoko becomes a Chelsea player, and for a reported £35M transfer fee, he is not arriving to sit on the bench. Both Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas are going to find themselves fighting for first-team opportunities.
CM – N’Golo Kante
The first name on the team-sheet, the FWA, PFA, PL and CFC Player of The Year, and one of the best midfielders on the planet. Here’s to many more years of Kante being a Blue…
LWB – Alex Sandro
He’s going to cost us an arm and a leg, but I would imagine that Sandro will be a Chelsea player by the end of the transfer window. A major upgrade on Marcos Alonso, and will give Eden Hazard plenty of freedom to do his thing.
RW – Pedro
After a disappointing debut season, Pedro was influential in our success last season. He will hold down this spot in the side ahead of Willian next season.
LW – Eden Hazard
Though he will miss the opening few games of the Premier League season, there can be no doubting that Hazard will be starting every game while fit for Chelsea next season. He has established himself among the top ten players on the planet.
ST – Romelu Lukaku
Diego Costa will not be a Chelsea player come the start of next season, that is now clear. Lukaku is the favourite to replace him, and signing him is an exciting prospect for anyone with any affiliation with the club – he guarantees goals, and will only get better.