When Chelsea suffered an opening day defeat against Burnley, critics started questioning whether Antonio Conte’s team had the same character as last season. The champions had lost midfielder Nemanja Matic and striker Diego Costa was AWOL.
However, in the last few weeks, the Blues have shown their true character, which was summed up with a late 2-1 win against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Any win at Atletico deserves praise
Chelsea are the English champions and expect to win against most opposition. However, Atletico Madrid are a tough team to visit, whether it be at their old Vicente Calderon stadium or the new Wanda Metropolitano.
In fact, Chelsea were the first ever English visitors to beat Atletico Madrid on home soil in competitive action.
Diego Simeone’s current side are one of the toughest teams in Europe to break down. In truth, most teams would be happy with a draw in Madrid. However, the Blues kept going and a stoppage-time goal from Belgian super-sub Michy Batshuayi gave Conte’s side three points.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte stated after the match that the English champions showed lots of personality to secure the win. It was the personality or character of his team that was in question at the start of the season.
The doubters seem to be out in fewer numbers these days, as Chelsea are quietly building up momentum in the two big club competitions.
A fresh start without Diego Costa
One major issue that did not help Chelsea at the start of the season was the Diego Costa saga. The Brazilian finally completed his big money move to Atletico Madrid earlier this week. He was on hand to see his old club defeat his new employers and was understandably unhappy.
In all honesty, though, Chelsea do not seem to miss the Spanish international. Costa’s replacement Alvaro Morata has hit form and scored the all-important equaliser last night for the Blues. The goal followed a hat-trick at the weekend in a 4-0 win at Stoke City.
The 24-year-old is already proving his worth and does not look out of place at Chelsea. In fact, he looks right at home at Stamford Bridge. The Chelsea fans have already moved on from Costa and Morata could yet still prove just as much of a hero as his international teammate.
The team are playing well and Chelsea are picking up results. The toxic atmosphere that seemed present after the opening game of the season has disappeared. The Blues unbeaten run of eight games in all competitions, including seven wins prove that everything is rosy in the Chelsea garden once more.
Chelsea boss Conte looks a happier figure now. No doubt the signing and form of Morata will have helped his general demeanour.
Chelsea still a contender at home and abroad
Winning at Atletico Madrid is no mean feat. Antonio Conte is a very shrewd tactician and he has not won so many trophies through sheer luck. When the Italian is in a good frame of mind, which he seems to be right now, his tactical acumen will make Chelsea dangerous opponents for anybody in the European game.
The Blues are currently 6/7 to win their Champions League group and they have arguably already faced their most difficult game of Group C.
Chelsea won the Premier League by a fair distance last season. The Blues were by far the best team in the English top-flight. This season they will be contenders for the English title once more.
However, on current form they could be dangerous outsiders to win conquer Europe too, as they look like they can give any team a game.
Who needs Diego Costa eh?
Are Chelsea genuine contenders to win the Champions League this season?
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