Monday, October 15, 2018

Is Antonio Conte really the problem at Chelsea?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 6 Feb 2018

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Chelsea suffered a 4-1 defeat at Watford on Monday night in the Premier League. The Blues played for over an hour with ten men following the dismissal of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko on the half-hour mark.

The defeat adds to the Blues recent woes and unsurprisingly questions are being asked of Italian boss Antonio Conte. However, my question would be is the Italian to blame.

History repeating itself

Chelsea have a history of sacking bosses when the clubs hierarchy feel their place in the elite is in danger. However, the most similar case was from Jose Mourinho’s second spell.

The Portuguese boss won the Premier League title. However, midway through the next season, Chelsea sacked him with the club in mid-table and struggling for results.

The explanation for Mourinho’s failings at Stamford Bridge in that season was that he had lost the dressing room. It is strange that nobody has suggested that the passionate Conte has lost the dressing room.

However, the situations are very similar. Many of the players are the same players that helped Mourinho out of the door. Maybe fans and media need to start to question the players in this scenario.

Chelsea needs better players

Chelsea is not a traditional powerhouse of the English game. They are where they are now because of the spending of Russian owner Roman Abramovich. However, Chelsea could not sustain that spending, even if FFP has more holes than a tramps shoe.

Conte has aired his grievances about the lack of backing from the Blues hierarchy and some will say too vocal. However, surely he deserved some respect and responsibility when it comes to player recruitment at the club.

There is a sense that the Italian does not have much control over which players end up in his team’s dressing room. How is he supposed to build a team with players that do not fit into his style of play or philosophy?

The former Juventus boss is a victim of his own success in his debut campaign. Winning the title was in many ways the worst thing that could have happened to the Italian boss.

The Blues overachieved last season, while a number of their rivals struggled for consistency. Conte’s managerial acumen won the Blues the title and not the standard of player at the club.

Following winning the title, the Chelsea hierarchy may have got complacent and believed that the current squad was good enough to repeat the feat this season.

The Blues did bring in the likes of Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta. However, they lost Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic, two crucial players in the spine of the team.

Conte was against selling Matic and Costa went on strike to force a move back to Atletico Madrid, so the Italian lost two players he wanted to keep. Maybe if Chelsea would have brought in the players that the Italian wanted, then they may be enjoying a stronger season.

Conte is the favourite be the next boss to leave their club

Antonio Conte is now red-hot favourite to be the next Premier League boss to leave their club at 1/ 4. Those odds are understandable considering Chelsea’s history of dispensing with top bosses.

For me, Antonio Conte is a top boss. He will do a very good job in his next post and no doubt be successful. His reaction to question marks about his future at Chelsea suggests that he would not be devastated to leave Stamford Bridge in the near future.

There is obviously something wrong with the clubs hierarchy, as both Mourinho and Conte are top bosses. The same issue has arisen twice and that is not a coincidence.

I saw a so a called ‘well respected’ journalist state that Conte has brought this on himself by his negativity. However, it seems very clear that he does not know what is going on within the club.

Maybe Conte has been driven to being negative because of the actions of other people higher up the clubs hierarchy. We will probably never know.

It would not be a major surprise if Conte left the club before the Blues game against West Brom on Monday night. It would be a shame, but it seems to be the nature of modern-day football and Chelsea has a habit of dispensing with bosses on a regular basis.

Is Antonio Conte to blame for Chelsea’s current situation?


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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