Saying last season was the darkest of tunnels for the Blues is understating the reality, but recent displays attest to the fact that there could be light shining at the end of it after all.
Having fallen away from glory after their 10th place finish last season, the club went in search of a solution and found one in the then Italy manager, Antonio Conte. He took over the helm of affairs after the European Championships and things have looked good so far.
Though many, except their always-sentimental fans, don’t tip them for an immediate rise to the pinnacle of English football this season, belittling the wounded lions wouldn’t be a very good choice to make.
Thus far, it’s been a perfect start to the 2016-17 season for them as we head into the international break, and it’s all the doing of the Italian master tactician.
At Juve, he went unbeaten in the league during the 2011–12 season. That fine Serie A run he guided his club to went on for 49 games, and perhaps we could see a repeat of that at Stamford Bridge.
Whether or not he is able to beat or match some of those enviable records at Chelsea cannot be foreshadowed just yet. In the EPL, Chelsea held a 40-match unbeaten streak from October 2004 to November 2005.
There is an 86 match unbeaten record at home in the league (broken in 2008), while Jose Mourinho also set a 77-match unbeaten record at the Bridge before a relegation-bound Sunderland tore it down during the 2014/15 season.
These are just statistics the average Blues addict will boast of every now and then while arguing of the club’s all-mightiness. What really occupies the mind of the Chelsea faithful at the moment is witnessing the Premier League trophy in John Terry’s hands come May.
Guardiola’s tactical super powers, Mourinho’s wits, Godly Zlatan and a 100 million-dollar Pogba can go to blazes for all they care.
With 3 wins out of 3, 7 goals scored and 2 conceded, glory looks to be returning to the house of Chelsea. Conte first stole Kante away from current champions Leicester City before adding Michy Batshuayi aka Spongebob SquarePants to the striking department as backup to Diego Costa.
Still in dire need of defensive depth, the pursuits of Koulibaly, Bonucci and most recently AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli have met brick-walls. With less than a week to go before the summer transfer window draws its curtain, that centre-back problem must be solved as the team needs that missing piece of the jigsaw to turn into a very formidable side. And whether the club’s latest target, Lazio’s Stefan de Vrij is even able to fit in perfectly with this squad is still to be pondered.
Academy product Ola Aina will, however, get to serve as the next in line in the defensive pecking order if Conte does fail in his attempt to land a quality defender.
With a great goalie, solid defenders, hardworking midfielders and hungry attackers, the title could be Chelsea’s for the taking.
It’s been a rejuvenated Chelsea during all 3 league games so far. Pedro alongside Victor Moses make up the attacking strengths available off the bench, while Fabregas and Mikel remain alternative midfield options. Eduardo and the soon-to-return Kurt Zouma as other goalkeeping and defensive backups all show the quality in depth Conte has secured, and he sure has started getting the best out of every player little by little.
Their 2 comebacks and 1 emphatic victory have shown Conte’s effect already. Stronger and tougher tests definitely await, but the brilliant individual displays from both the players and the coach show those too can be surmounted as the hunt for greatness continues.
It’s not too early to say the west London side might have just gotten a new Special One. It could be exactly what they need to return to the zenith as fast as they fell off from it. Everything seems to be going well according to the script. How long can it last?