Why it's too early to write Chelsea off
It will have been a day to remember for Chelsea fans as the Blue’s secured three points in a stunning display against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in last weeks clash. Following the reigning champion’s shock defeat at home to Burnley last week, along with the transfer turmoil surrounding them in what feels like years, Antonio Conte really needed to turn things around and quick, which was exactly what he did.
The majority of Chelsea fans were understandably apprehensive ahead of the game – their confidence shaken by a number of first-team players either still lacking match-fitness or are out due to injury or red cards. The main star, Eden Hazard, is slowly recovering after breaking his ankle earlier in the summer and players like Bakayoko and Pedro just coming back from injuries themselves. Remarkably, despite not being match-fit, Bakayoko played the entire 90 minutes yesterday and even though he wasn’t nowhere near his best yet, he showed glimpses of what is to come. Fabregas and Gary Cahill round out the list of missing players after both were shown red cards in the first match against Burnley.
Despite all their troubles, Chelsea put in a very strong performance against a top-four team,reminding pundits and tabloids alike not to count the Blues out of the race just yet. As expected, Tottenham were very dangerous from the onset with players like Kane, Alli and Eriksen all proving to be a threat, albeit, without any success. Chelsea kept their composure throughout, and a brilliant match by Marcos Alonso with goals from a set-piece and later a counter-attack in the final minutes ensuring that Chelsea would take all three points. While it was obvious Conte’s men still lacked the needed quality up top with Pedro and Hazard missing, who will be crucial in feeding Morata the balls and chances he needs to thrive, it was still a very solid display throughout, with Bakayoko impressing on his Chelsea debut as well.
Perhaps the most important factor, however, is the approach and discipline throughout the game we grew accustomed to seeing in last year’s champion season, and it appears Conte has once again managed to instill into his players a champions mentality, which could prove to be the ‘x-factor’ that decides the champion this year as well.
Many critics were quick to jump on the ‘Chelsea are out of the race’ bandwagon after last weeks defeat, but with the quality, discipline, mentality of his team augmented with Conte’s insatiable desire for victory, and i’d say count them out at your own peril.