Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Antonio Conte is a dead man walking at Chelsea

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 6 Mar 2018

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For me, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is one of the best tacticians in the European game. However, it seems the Chelsea curse may strike again. This curse is the inexplicable way Chelsea seem to struggle after a title-winning campaign.

The same thing happened to Jose Mourinho, who is also a very good boss. It is hard to explain, but the Blues current run of form could very well mean the end of Conte at Chelsea.

Chelsea are not known as a club that let the grass grow underneath them when it comes to sacking bosses. It would be a major surprise if Conte is still Chelsea boss beyond the summer.

Conte has not seemed happy at Chelsea since the summer

Conte did a brilliant job of coaching the Blues to the Premier League title last season. It was a big surprise and in many ways, they overachieved. The Italian showed his tactical acumen by changing to three centre-backs, a system he successfully used at Juventus.

Many teams have attempted to use the system since Conte’s successful implementation of it last season. When Chelsea won the title, they should have strengthened from a position of strength.

Instead, the Blues lost influential defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic and top scorer Diego Costa. Both players were very hard to replace and there is a sense that Conte did not exactly get the replacements he wanted in the summer.

The Italian was reportedly frustrated by Matic’s exit, as he wanted to keep the Serbian international for this season. Selling to a rival in Manchester United really did not help either.

Conte this season seems a very different character to the energetic boss we saw jumping around the touchline last season. It seems that he is no longer happy at Stamford Bridge.

If that is the case, then I doubt it would be the end of the world for the Italian if the Chelsea hierarchy dispensed with his services. He would easily walk into another top job.

Things turning sour for Conte

It would not be a major surprise if Conte were unhappy at the club. Recent results have been poor and players have complained in the press about the Italian’s tactics, especially in the recent 1-0 defeat at leaders Manchester City.

A report in the Daily Star even claims that the former Juventus boss now only speaks to his Italian-speaking staff at the club. If that is true, it is sure to cause a stir behind the scenes within the club.

Things have turned sour very quickly for the 49-year-old at Stamford Bridge. Maybe he should have left in the summer, as he was reportedly homesick. A return to his homeland this summer cannot be ruled out either.

Chelsea outsiders to make the Champions League

A run of four defeats in their last five Premier League outings has left Chelsea in fifth-place in the Premier League, five points behind fourth-place Tottenham. Conte’s team are now odds of 9/4, fifth favourites to finish in the Champions League spots this season.

While the Blues are still in the Champions League and the FA Cup, their league campaign has been poor. This all stems back to the summer and the Chelsea squad becoming weaker rather than stronger.

The January signing of French striker Olivier Giroud from Arsenal for £16million smacked of desperation, although it did not sound as desperate as the Blues reported bid for veteran Stoke beanpole Peter Crouch.

It looks like it could be a difficult task for the Blues to make the top-four this season. Finishing outside the top-four would be regarded as a poor campaign for the team from south west London.

There is something that is not quite right at Chelsea and it is deeper than just the manager. We are never likely to find out if there is something deeper going on at Chelsea.

I am highly convinced that Antonio Conte will leave the club this summer, whatever happens between now and the end of the campaign. However, he will not out of the game for long, as the demand for his services will be high next season.

Is Antonio Conte on the verge of leaving Chelsea?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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