Date: 19th December 2017 at 8:02am
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With the constant media chatter of Antonio Conte walking a tightrope in charge at Chelsea FC, do we assume, that if Alex Sandro joins from Juventus and Luiz heads off into the horizon, the Chelsea hierarchy are backing their manager.

With the departure of Diego Costa and the fallout with David Luiz, Conte won`t put up with insubordination within the ranks. He knows what he wants and is stubborn enough to get it. It`s an attitude akin to that of the Premier League`s greatest manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

We`ve seen during his short time in London, that Conte is the closest there currently is in the Premier League of a footballing genius. Where he goes, others follow. How quickly did his successful 3-4-3 system from last season get adopted by other clubs managers.

This season he`s changed formations to suit the players at his disposal. Okay, it`s not always worked but he`s able to react to situations during games and act accordingly.

After 18 games last season Chelsea had accumulated 46 points and were six clear of Liverpool in second on 40. This season Chelsea have 38 points at the same stage, Liverpool have 34. The other two London based contenders for the title, at the start of the season, both have less points this season than the corresponding stage a year ago. Tottenham have a deficit of 5 points and Arsenal have a deficit of 4 points.

Only in Manchester has there been an improvement. Manchester United have jumped 8 points from 33 to 41 and City have eclipsed that with a 15 point increase, 37 to 52.

Conte may appear to always be under pressure if you believe all you read, that`s the nature of being the Chelsea boss, but he`s only a couple of bad results off where he was at the same stage last season.

Forget the City defeat, every team`s getting some of that. But losses against Burnley, Crystal Palace and West Ham go against what you would expect from Chelsea. Reverse those blips and Chelsea are comfortable in second place.

With the addition of a defender/wingback of Sandro`s ilk, and a striker to backup and ease the pressure on Alvaro Morata and Conte will have a side not far off being very competitive, at least domestically.

If I were able to choose someone to slot into Chelsea`s front three in January, it would be Jamie Vardy. It may be a bit short termist, but here`s someone with pace, knows the league, and could deliver a serious amount of goals for the remainder of the season.

With N`golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater already in place, he’d settle in quickly. Vardy would also be available to play in the Champions League against Barcelona when that game comes around in February.

The Premier League title may have gone, but there are plenty more games to play and trophies to fight for. Chelsea are still in there fighting despite pressure from plenty who want to see them fall and fail. With Antonio Conte running the show we can at least be sure we have a man who, on the surface, appears to be in total control of his squad.

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