With two back to back losses, Antonio Conte’s new adventure in the Premier League has hit a snag, early this season. The summer transfer window was not long enough for the manager as he had to make two deadline day signings to improve on his squad but by the looks of team in the first few games, they are still lacking quality players who can lift the side to the top of the table. The players like Diego Costa, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and John Terry can win them games on their day, but the rest of the squad has not looked at its best so far, and there are more reasons than one for their recent failures.
The Blues have a vast variety of options in their squad that manager can use for different positions. The likes of Cesc Fabregas , Mikel and Nemanja Matic have assumed the central midfield role alongside Kante while Oscar has also been given a chance in an attacking role. Victor Moses and Pedro have been used in wide areas but one player who might turn out to be the man Conte turns to under pressure in Brazilian winger Willian. The 28-year old, who is primarily a winger, was unarguably the best player for the side in the previous season and has started 5 games in the league so far this season. He has been deployed on the right side of the attack by Conte but with liabilities all around the field, Willian might be the Giaccherini of Italy for Conte in England.
The 31-year old Italian international, who was also a winger to start with, was one of the most influential players for the national side in the last few years. He was converted into a box to box midfielder to try and use his work rate, energy and skill on the ball and though he took time to succeed, he has produced some of his best performances in that role. He was used also as a wing-back by Conte in the EURO16 and it is clear that he is missing such a utility player at his new club in the Premier League.
Conte is a tactician who liked to fiddle with his formations. He favors a 3-man defense that overloads the midfield but has not been able to use the same at Chelsea due to lack of personnel in certain positions. His recent losses to Liverpool and Arsenal have shown that he cannot prolong the same team and performances for long and that he needs to change something to get back to winning ways.
He is disciplined when he is off the ball and will surely cover huge chunks of midfield throughout the game. He has the ability to turn defense into attack with blistering speed and will be able to provide Chelsea the another dimension on attack. Giaccherini, on the other hand, provided Conte relief whenever he needed a place in the outfield to be filled and Willian, though most effective as a winger, can easily slot into other places in the midfield. He has been at the club long enough to adjust to a new position and though he will not be converted into a midfielder, he can surely do the job for Conte when it is unavoidable.
Conte needs to change his personnel, his formation or his style of play to make sure that his side can compete to reach the top of the table and moving Willian into a central role might just work wonders.