Victor Moses and his Chelsea teammates celebrate the premier league title for the 2016/17 season after a fantastic campaign under the guidance of Antonio Conte.
The Italian enjoyed a great debut season in England but it wasn’t all rollercoaster for the former Juventus gaffer as he had to experience some bad patches en route galvanizing his wards to become champions.
Kudos to Tottenham Hotspurs who ensured that the title fight stays alive until tonight and the Blues just showed why they deserve the premier league crown with their amazing show of strength and resilience. Back-to-back defeat to Liverpool, Arsenal
Conte came into Chelsea fired up after leading Italy to a semifinal outing at the Euro 2016 and won his first three games in the premier league but it immediately went bad for the next three matches.
The Blues drew 2-2 in Wales against Swansea, lost 1-2 at home against Liverpool and were thrashed in September 3-0 in the London Derby against Arsenal and in that moment, the Italian reverted to the formation that had brought him great success over the years 3-4-3.
The revival started in the second half of that encounter against the Gunners as they shut out their hosts after conceding three first half goals and from then on a new Chelsea emerged.Reverting to his trusted 3-4-3 formation
The first game Chelsea started with the 3-4-3 formation was against Hull City at the KC Stadium and they battled to a 2-0 away victory as the players began to adjust to the new formation which had served Conte very well as manager of Juventus and Italy in the past.
That followed a 3-0 win against Leicester City and an even bigger win against rivals Manchester United. The Blues ran riot that day as goals from Pedro, Cahill, Hazard and Kante ensured a mind-bogglingly 4-0 against former manager Jose Mourinho.
A small drama ensued as the Portuguese wasn’t happy that Conte had incited the Blues fans against him but the Italian defended himself by saying he just wanted the supporters to get behind the team some more.
The winning sequence continued and they hammered Everton 5-0 along the way but conceded their first goal after a while against Tottenham Hotspurs but still ran out 2-1 winners at Stamford Bridge in a November clash.
Chelsea also made Manchester City their victims as they won 3-1 away at the Etihad to confirm them as huge title favourites.Minor setbacks
Chelsea came into 2017 with a ten points lead at the top of the premier league log but Spurs were the first to cut that advantage as they pummeled the Blues 2-0 in January courtesy a fine brace from Dele Alli at the White Hart Lane.
However, Chelsea showed grit and focus to bounce back with two wins against Leicester 3-0 away and 2-0 at home against Hull City. They also, beat Arsenal 3-1 but drew 1-1 against Liverpool and Burnley before losing at home 1-2 to Crystal Palace who also went on to beat Arsenal 3-0 at Selhurst Park.
The series of results gave Spurs huge hope of closing in on Chelsea and it was real for the fans of the North London club as they hope for their first premier league title.
Manchester United also defeated the Blues 2-0 during this period as the lead was down to just four points but Spurs lost the plot as they went down 1-0 to West Ham United and Chelsea again opened up a seven points gap at the top with a comprehensive 4-2 win against Southampton which they followed up with 3-0 scorelines against Everton and Middlesbrough respectively.Hazard’s revival
Players feel Conte’s desire to win under Conte and give their all to achieve the manager’s dream for the club and it was no different for Eden Hazard who looked like a completely different player from last season.
The Belgian had won the Player of the Year two seasons ago but arrived in the 2015/16 season a shambles of his old self as fights with Jose Mourinho ensured a very bad campaign for Chelsea and the player.
However, with the departure of Mourinho and arrival of Conte – Hazard has found his mojo again and terrorizes defenders with relative ease and goal one of the goals of the season against Arsenal, a solo effort that woke doubters that he is back to his best.
Hazard may leave the club for Real Madrid in the summer but this could easily be his best season in England although he lost the Player of the Year Award to teammate N’Golo Kante who also, has been outstanding since he joined from Leicester City. Conte’s Connection with fans
He hugged fans when important goals were scored and shake their hands as many times as he can.
Conte wears his passion on his sleeves and the supporters embraced his style immediately – he may look the most animated on the touchline but it helps to keep his players on their toes.
The Italian could easily be mistaken for a man that has been a coach of Chelsea for more than ten years but this is his debut season and what a campaign he has enjoyed. The premier league title is well deserved and Inter Milan can keep their money because like Conte rightly puts it: “Money is not everything.”
Congratulations Chelsea, weldone Antonio Conte, and our biggest wishes to Nigeria’s Victor Moses!