Ahead of Match day 3 Champions league tie against Italian Capital team, AS Roma on Wednesday, Chelsea fans might not fancy the team chance of going far in this years elite European competition after their horrible showing against Crystal Palace and the loss of key players in N’Golo Kante and Victor Moses to hamstring injuries.
It’s been almost 6 years since an English side lifted the prestigious Champions league trophy, the last being Chelsea, one of the underdogs then in 2012.
Chelsea FC winning team of 2012 featured what most people would call average players like Gary Cahill, John Mikel Obi, Raul Meireless and Ramires but inspite of what people said or thought, they overcame a dominant Bayern and the best Barcelona Team due to their determination, winning mentality and never die attitude.
With a notably better squad since their last outing, Chelsea, despite seen as one of the outsiders for this year’s Champions league will be one of the top contenders for the Champions League this season.
Here are 4 reasons why we at blueprintafricsports think Chelsea can be Champions League winners come May 2018 :
1. ANTONIO CONTE
For all the talk of squad depth and mega-money deals, we shouldn't allow it to detract from the reality that Conte is Chelsea's biggest asset. Yes, more so than Eden Hazard and £58 million signing Alvaro Morata, the manager is the jewel in the crown for the Blues.
Chelsea lacked any sort of direction when he arrived. With no European football and a fractured squad, the Blues had no right to get a manager of his caliber. Somehow they did, and with the former Juventus boss in the dugout this season, the team are going to be a strong proposition, regardless of how many more injuries they get.
Conte is one of the best tacticians in Europe and his love for perfection, positioning, high pressing and beautiful counter attacking football makes this Chelsea team one to watch out for
Conte is to this next phase of Chelsea's history what Jose Mourinho was in 2004.
2. 3-4-3 FORMATION
Conte's 3-4-3 changed English football last season, bringing in a new dawn for the system that has been adopted by so many other teams. Manchester United and Arsenal are trying it out for size, while others such as Everton and Tottenham Hotspur have also dabbled.
No other team has been as effective as Chelsea at applying it, though. And when we look at personnel, there's every reason to suggest that will remain so.
While Conte doesn't have the squad depth he wants, he does have the players he needs. He has talented and capable wing-backs, with a strong three-man defence that is essential for the formation to work. Not only that, it suits the likes of Luiz.
With the new signings bedding in, Conte is slowly shifting from the 3-4-3 formation of last season to his more favoured 3-5-2.
With a backline of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Antonio Rüdiger , Conte has options to build up the play from the back now. The midfield pairing of Bakayoko and Kante allows Fabregas to maraud forward and do what he does best; supply the killer ball to the striker while Eden Hazard will find more space to exploit behind Alvaro Morata in the free role or classic No 10 position this season.
3. HUNGER FOR EUROPEAN SUCCESS
Antonio Conte won back to back Serie A titles with Juventus but it was not until after he left for the National team job that they made it to 2 champions league finals in 3 years. The current Chelsea boss would trade anything for a major European trophy to prove to his doubters that he can perform in Europe’s top competition
With David Luiz and Gary Cahill, the only ones remaining from Chelsea’s champions league league winning team, other players like Eden Hazard, Cesar Azpilicueta and N’Golo Kante will want to be up there too among top European players especially Hazard who needs Champions league success if he wants to be the world best.