conte passion, conte chelseaChelsea fans and players alike could well be forgiven for looking back on their 2016/2017 season with pride after a very successful season.

The Blues are seven points ahead of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the title race and are odds-on favourites to win the Premier League this season.

In comparison to last year’s campaign, Chelsea has performed to their abilities and have returned to the form that won them the league in the 2014/15 season. There are a number of reasons behind their success but we have picked out four of them.

Antonio Conte’s passion

The ebullient Italian coach joined Chelsea after a successful spell with the Italian national team. Much was made of his modern ideas, his defensive style and his high IQ as a coach. However, one of the other reasons behind Chelsea’s success has been the passion he has brought with him. In terms of passion, Conte has made a similar impact on Chelsea as Jurgen Klopp has had on Liverpool. Both teams have seen improvements, one of the main reasons being that both coaches have within them, great enthusiasm and a love for the game that has rubbed off on the players. This has meant confidence has been instilled within the players and has motivated them, even more, to perform for the manager.

Antonio Conte’s tactics

Conte’s high coaching IQ has been on display throughout this season. Both home and away, Chelsea have proven very hard to beat and one of the key reasons behind this has been Conte’s use of a highly effective, well coached 3-4-3 formation.

Conte came to Chelsea and started the season playing the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation, one that the players were used to under the previous coach Jose Mourinho. However, after a devastating away defeat at Arsenal, Conte changed tactics and reverted Chelsea to a dynamic 3-4-3 formation, one that he had used to great effect with the Italian national team.

Since the change in formation, Chelsea has been highly effective in all areas. Their attack has remained consistent and they have been able to score at will. The midfield has also remained solid and has not only been able to protect the back three but has also had a hand in supplying the attacking players.

Chelsea’s defence has also been a revelation. In comparison to their woeful form in the disastrous 2015/16 season, they have remained disciplined and highly effective at the back. Their shape without the ball has also been noticeable with the wingbacks getting behind the ball and forming a seemingly impenetrable back five. Truly remarkable.

Ngolo Kante

The diminutive but tough midfield enforcer has been revelation yet again and looks set to add another Premier League title and a (1) PFA Player of the year award to his list of achievements after his exploits with Leicester City last season.

Of all the players that Chelsea have acquired, Kante is by far the most important. His performances in midfield have not gone without notice and frighteningly enough, at only 25, he may still improve.

Kante is a dogged competitor, highly disciplined and a clean tackler. He protects the defence and has even had a hand in creating opportunities for the attacking players in front of him. If Chelsea goes on to win the title, he will certainly be a player that will be highlighted as a significant part of that success and for good reason.

By

Chidozie Ehirim

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