Looking at Antonio Conte’s body language during yesterday’s win at Southampton, he had the look of a man very much resigned to his fate. He’s knows he’s going at the end of the season as do the players and fans.
If Chelsea are to get anything out of this season, it’s going to have to be the players who step up. We saw with the introduction of Olivier Giroud, what a difference it makes to a team, to have a player who actually cares, playing.
The Frenchman’s enthusiasm, bred life into a group of individuals bereft of ideas and interest. Giroud has not been given much opportunity since his arrival at the end of January. Antonio Conte has stubbornly stuck with Alvaro Morata as his striker.
The Spaniard’s had a shocking second half to the season. It may well have been hampered by injury, a common Chelsea theme, but his temperament resembles his fellow countryman Diego Costa. The only drawback being, rather than riling the opposition, it’s just Morata, himself that gets wound up.
Conte swapped to a 4-4-1-1 formation after Giroud and Pedro had replaced Morata and Zappacosta respectively. Marcos Alonso switched to left back, leaving Pedro and Willian out wide. Hazard and Giroud were allowed an interchangeable free-role up the middle of the park.
Since Andreas Christensen’s form has dipped, Conte should have switched from his favoured back three, to a back four, going full circle to when he first arrived at Chelsea. It was the move from four at the back to three that turned around that first season. The reverse could have worked this term.
Conte problem has been, this on-going battle in his head with the Chelsea hierarchy. It was a battle he was never going to win. Knowing that, he turned on the players, most notably David Luiz who has been completely ostracised from the squad. He simply can’t have been injured for the whole season.
Moving forward, Chelsea supporters, after all it’s us fans that really matter, want to see more of a Giroud attitude from the starting XI. No more Morata, no more Fabregas. Next up for Chelsea is a visit to Turf Moor and a chance to avenge what was the start of a bad season, against Burnley.