A rejuvenated Chelsea rampaged through Everton defense last Saturday and the Blues humiliated the visitors 5-0 to move up the table. The Stamford Bridge side are now at the second spot in the league table, and are looking strong enough to challenge for the coveted title.
After the side’s resilient performances of late, where they emerged victorious in five back to back league outings, coach Antonio Conte revealed the reasons behind the resurgence of his squad.
Earlier this season, Conte tried to use an attacking 4-2-4 formation, but that did not work out well and the worst happened when Arsenal dominated them to win the clash 3-0 at home. And the Italian admitted that it was a wake up call for him.
The defeat against the Gunners inevitably made Conte think what was going wrong with the side and the first thing he did was to change his system. Chelsea adopted 3-4-3 formation from the next game, with Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses as two attacking wingbacks on both sides of the mid four, and the effect was imminent. After the Arsenal game, Chelsea have played five Premier League matches and they have won all of them, scoring as many as 16 goals in total. More importantly, they have maintained clean sheets in all five.
While talking to the press after the Everton game, Conte addressed the issue of this change of formation, “In my mind I wanted to play with a 4-2-4,. I wanted to start this way because when you have strong wingers, I like to play with two strikers very close. But then I changed. During pre-season, there was 4-2-4 and 3-4-3 because this squad could play these systems. I changed it to find more balance defensively and in offensive situations.”
The boss also revealed how he makes his plans, “Usually when you lose, it’s important to have a good idea and to change to improve and to explain why you had this defeat. Then I think together with the players we are working very hard and finding a new way to change the situation.”
He further talked about the changes that have been happening at the Bridge. The new manager admitted that the players were in a bad mental state after last year’s dismal results and he had to work a lot to change the situation. Conte commented, “Last season was very bad for all the players and it was very important to increase the confidence. Players like Moses, Alonso and Pedro, they are playing in a fantastic way. I hope they continue to improve.”
Well, it can be said beyond doubt that the new Chelsea are looking a lot better than what they were in 2015/16. Whether they can go on to win the title is a whole different issue, but the players seem to be happy and enjoying at the moment, and that is much more important for a club of this stature.
Photo by NazionaleCalcio