“I adapt my idea of football to my players, not adapt my players in my idea of football.” Antonio Conte
Fresh from the thumping victory over Man United. Chelsea look like a team ready for any challenge thrown at them. Chelsea players don’t look like a shadow of themselves while they were under Jose Mourinho.
Back when Jose Mourinho was appointed as United manager he surely made it clear that every United fan needs to forget what happened in the past 12 months , probably including his sacking during his second spell at Chelsea. Looks like everything Jose was in the news for is being over shadowed by Anotio Conte. The passion that seen Jose running the touchline after Porto winning the champions league. The famous Jose-Wenger push and shove. All of that can wait Antonio Conte has just put himself right there with the best. Improvise, Adapt and Overcome that’s what Conte did during his time at Juventus and now extremely visible during their game against United.
Conte was surely going to make alot of head turns with his managerial versatility,thinking and adapting quickly during the 90mins. Something Mourinho was valiant throughout his time as a manger.He surely did show a glimpse of the same by benching club captain and record scored Wayne Rooney.But unfortunately the cracks go deeper than just benching Wayne.
Conte started life at Chelsea after a successful yet contentious Euro Championship. Pre-season at Chelsea began with a loss while trying to implement the 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and 4-2-4 formation. The players at Chelsea surely were so fixated with Jose 4-2-3-1 that it become difficult to get free flowing football out of that group of players. With AC Milan next they shifted from the 4-3-3 to 4-1-4-1 while chasing the game.Chelsea were 3-1 winners.
The dynamism and fluidity of football was something that can win you games and new recruit N’Golo Kante was surely going to benefit from this.Playing to his strengths the team has been able to exploit Kante’s presence on the field.Conte did know how to use players like Pogba,Pirlo and that’s something Jose is trying to figure out as he is still searching for a partner for Pogba. The midweek game against Fenerbache Pogba did partner Carrick and they dictated the terms of play and eventually won 4-1 . Why did Jose not opt for the same midfield pair only he can elaborate. Jose looks like a fallen angel along with United, rigid approach, defiant tactics ,lack of ability to turn defence into attack extremely similar during Louis Van Gaal tenure and a little prowess to bench either of the two new recruits with their failure to perform consistently.This is what cost them the match against Conte’s Chelsea.
Chelsea have been a breath of fresh air eversince Conte was appointed. Players like Hazard, Matic have been rejuvenated under Conte.Adding David Luis their backbone looks strong. Everything Jose is Conte is more of an upgraded version in my opinion. Surely Conte has had his fair share of doubts over the years which manager hasn’t.But with being the only Italian team to go unbeaten an entire season is something only Arsene Wenger can relate too in the Premier League. Giving Jose benefit of the doubt his Chelsea side did do wonders during his first spell.Every title winning squad down the years has had a back bone to build on and for Conte it was Andrea Pirlo during his spell at Juventus. Even though Pirlo was such an influence to his title winning team. Conte didn’t include him in the Italian squad along with Giovancio as they both moved to Major League Soccer. Conte did show gutts on how serious he was with players opting to play for leagues such as MLS which are far behind in terms of technicality and level of playing compared to the likes of la Liga ,Italian and Premier league.
Conte as a player was known for his gritt, temper,intensity and aggression but also for his sublime passing accuracy, longer range efforts. Beginning his managerial career he surely did inculcate the same in his teams. Most notably Juventus where Pirlo and Pogba were the master tacticians during that period. Accuracy in passing mixed with quick decision making and clear eye for goal upfront which made them a force to reckon with but somehow they failed in Europe.
Chelsea and Conte is more like rebound relationship reaching new horizons. Conte has surely given Chelsea that freshness and unpredictability that has lacked in the team in recent years. Matic and Kante proving their worth along with the wall Consisting of Luis Cahill , Courtious and flair of Hazard,Victor Moses,Pedro tormenting defences and Of course tough nut Diego Costa who has been lethal this season, they surely are a team that can get that Premier League title.
Next two months will surely show what Chelsea can do and how good they are. They play Spurs and Man city in a span of 8 days. New year begins at Hart Lane and then Leicester city along with Liverpool and Arsenal in-between this is entertaining Hull city at home.
One thing’s for sure drama will be at an all time high. Chelsea can surely take Arsenal Liverpool and City on with that kind of lethality in the squad as they showed against United.
Finally the nightmare for Real Madrid and Gareth Bale in particular was over. 1-1 it ended on the night at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Juventus held their nerve and enjoyed the host scuffing chance after chance, finally Juventus reaped fruit of their first leg advantage and won on aggregate. Juventus is going to Berlin. They will meet Barcelona in the final.
Ikea Casillias joined Xavi as the joint all time leading appearances in the Champions League. Gareth Bale had another forgettable night in the white shirt. Paul Pogba returned from injury to setup Morata’s goal. Madrid just couldn’t add to their lead and alot of missed chances confirmed their fate againts Juventus.
Many United fans would realised what a mistake it was to let Pogba leave and Last night he proved all the doubters wrong. After having being told by the United management in 2012 that “his time will come”. Sir Alex also wasn’t afraid to ses the back of Pogba and fast forward a few years ahead, it’s Pogba in the Champions League Final and United can only watch and still only managed to seal only 4th place which needs them to qualify for the Group stages of the Champions League.
There will be a few Former United players playing at the Berlin final , that include Tevez, Evra, Pique and debatable Pogba who made seven appearances which were all from the bench and not a single start.
The stage is set for the two current best teams in Europe to face eachother in Berlin on June 6th.