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Can Most Of Chelsea’s Struggles Be Blamed Upon Antonio Conte’s Decisions? Or Is Too Early?

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Is Conte The Problem At Chelsea? Or Is It Too Early To Call It That Way?

From their disastrous opening day defeat against Burnley to the recent loss against bottom-placed Crystal Palace, Chelsea’s troubles appear to show no signs of reducing. The new season has been nothing short of a tumultuous rollercoaster for the Blues already. They did show some signs of improvement in between – for example, the wins against Tottenham and Atletico Madrid – but they seem to have lost their mojo once more after the defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

Inconsistency and erratic are two apt words to describe how Chelsea’s season has been so far. They are certainly not helped by the ever-increasing list of injuries. The likes of Alvaro Morata, N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Victor Moses are currently gracing the list, and it is hard to know what to expect when Chelsea next take the field.

Antonio Conte’s observations that the squad was not strong enough to compete on several fronts risks being proven correct given the meek nature of the defeats to City and Palace. Against City, there was seemingly no viable alternative to Morata as soon as the Spaniard suffered his game-ending injury. However, this is where the manager partly shares the blame. Instead of bringing on either Pedro or Michy Batshuayi, he brought in Willian. The decision was met with frustration from a lot of fans as the player failed to make any sort of impact against City.

Meanwhile, against Palace, it was quite obvious that Chelsea were missing Kante since the home side gleefully exploited the gaps in the Blues midfield. There is another option though – to push David Luiz into midfield and play Andreas Christensen in central defence. It is not the perfect solution but with Kante likely to be out for several weeks and Danny Drinkwater yet to achieve full fitness, it is something worth considering.

As far as team selection goes, that’s been an issue as well. Willian looked fatigued even in the match against City so his inclusion in the squad against Palace came as a surprise for many. On the surface, it might seem like Chelsea didn’t have enough options but they had Pedro and Musonda – both players who are like-for-like replacements for Willian.

Of course, blaming Conte does not absolve the team of their share of blame. The team selection and set-up clearly didn’t work but the players on the field looked weak against one of the weakest sides in the league.

Having said that, Conte has certainly achieved a lot for Chelsea, and his passion is truly commendable. However, the fact remains that Conte’s decisions have been as inconsistent as his team. While some have been brilliant tactical moves, others have been questionable. There is still a long way to go before the season ends, and the fans will be hoping that the team – as well as Conte – regain their former glory to put up a stronger title defence.

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