By Alexandra Pereira
ANTONIO CONTE looks set to win his first Premier League in his first season as Chelsea manager after The Blues’ disastrous campaign last season.
This comes after a change in formation halfway through their three-nil loss to Arsenal back in September.
Chelsea then went on an unbeaten run of 13 wins in a row and since changing to a 3-4-3 formation have only dropped seven points.
Chelsea currently have taken 22 wins from a possible 28 games and there are only 10 games left of the campaign.
He said: “I think he’s managed to get the best out of the players he has at his disposal and has fitted the system around the players he has.
“As an Italian you knew he would want to set the defence up well but before he switched to three at the back – David Luiz was being exposed as was Brana Ivanovic’s lack of pace.
“Going to three at the back has meant that Luiz can defend deeper and has two centre backs covering him, this means we have three central defenders marking usually only one opposition forward.
“We also have cover on the wings as the wing-backs can move into a back five when needed. So, we are more solid defensively from a space and pace point of view.
“Also we can counter attack quickly down the wings and Hazard has been freed up from having to defend which means he can offer even more creatively.”
Chelsea season ticket holder Stephen White, 19, from Wimbledon believes that Conte’s tactical change has been beneficial for the club and said: “Conte came to Chelsea and kept the 4-2-3-1 system that seemed to work so well in past seasons but crumbled under Jose last season.
“Conte gave his players a chance to prove to him that the 4-2-3-1, although it started well, it crumbled against better opposition such as Liverpool and Arsenal.
“He changed the system to 3-4-3, employing Moses and Marcos Alonso as wing backs and they have done a sterling job and made the balance of our defensive play and counter attacking football so fluent.”
Chelsea fan Brendan Boateng-Smith, 19, from Crystal Palace, thinks that the reason Conte’s been popular in his first season as Chelsea manager is due to his relationship with the fans and said: “I believe the fans love him.
“Conte has passion and love for the game and many fans love this about him.
“Even if we lose, the Chelsea Football Club Facebook page is more positive than before.
“Conte has made us believe more, made us feel reassured about the position of Chelsea and has made me and the fans feel that Chelsea can now again, compete with the best.”
Antonio Conte Factfile:
Age: 47 (Birthday: 31/07/1969)
Teams Managed: Arezzo(2006-2007), Bari (2007-2009), Atlanta (2009-2010), Sienna (2010-2011), Juventus (2011-2014), Italy (2014-2016), Chelsea FC (2016-present)
Trophies won as a manager: 2Italian Super Cups (2012 and 2013), 1 Serie B Trophy (2008/09 season), 3 consecutive Serie A Trophies with Juventus (2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14)
Formation Used at Chelsea: 3-4-3
Conte won three consecutive Premier League manager of the month awards this season (October, November and December) and he is the first manager to ever do that in the Premier League
He won 13 consecutive games, which equalled the best by any English top-flight team in a single season.
Conte holds the record for the highest number of points won in a Serie A season (102 points)
Fun fact: He’s the fifth Italian manager that Chelsea FC have had (Italian managers that Chelsea have had: Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo.)