What happened to Chelsea last season was shocking not only for the Blues fans but also for the whole football fraternity. Their dismal campaign ended with them getting the tag for the worst title defense in the history of the Premier League. Every single player bar Willian, disappointed as Chelsea went from one defeat to another, which also resulted in the sacking of the much worshipped Jose Mourinho for the second time. Hiddink did well from the situation he came in at and got Chelsea to some sort of respectability in the league standings. However after Guus Hiddink, the hot seat at Stamford Bridge will be occupied by Antonio Conte, who currently managing the Italian international team at the Euros 2016.
Conte will be well aware of the fact that nothing less than Champions League qualification will be accepted at Chelsea and Roman Abramovich will not be afraid of pulling the trigger, if the results don’t go their way. The good thing was Chelsea is that, during the final stages of the last campaign, we saw players like Hazard and Fabregas again finding their touch in and around the box, therefore Conte doesn’t need to get a host of players in this summer, rather he has the liberty to concentrate on that one or two positions which are particularly weak right now in terms of quality and depth. One position which will need urgent attention is the full back area, where they seem to lacking that world class talent who could prove to be the difference between a top four finish and the title.
Last season Cesar Azpilicueta was the only player in the back line that showed some form consistency during the campaign, otherwise all the other defenders suffered a dip in form at one point or another. One player who had a horrendous season on the flanks was Branislav Ivanovic, in the first two matches last year the Siberian was tormented by the likes of Montero and Sterling, which led to wingers targeting the 32 year old defender all season with little fear. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t get better for him, had it not been for Mourinho’s confidence in him, the full back would have been dropped long time back but soon after the Portuguese departure things took a slight upturn and he was able to maintain his place barring injuries.
Chelsea did sign Papy Didjibodji and Baba Rahman last summer but the duo couldn’t perform on the level that one expects from a big club player. Therefore Conte is tasked with rebuilding a defense that allowed 53 goals in the Premier League last season. In the last month, the London team has been linked with a host of defenders who could provide the quality that is needed at this level. Players like Stephan Lichtsteiner and John Stones have been heavily linked with the club. With only 3 fullbacks in the squad, the need for a new signing is more than ever. Conte must perform quickly otherwise it won’t take long before we are discussing the candidates who could take over from Conte.