Chelsea secured their passage to the latter stages of the Champions League with a resounding 4-0 win in Azerbaijan. With Atletico Madrid beating Roma in the Group C’s other fixture, the Blues cashed in and can secure top spot in the group with a win over Atletico at Stamford Bridge on match day six.
European football is back on the agenda for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, who make their longest-ever Champions League away trip as they head to Azerbaijan to face FK Qarabag. The home side have adapted to life in Europe’s premier club competition well after a difficult start. The Blues sit second in Group C, one point behind group leaders Roma and can secure their qualification for the knockout stages if with a win – provided other results go their way.
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea returned from the international break in style with a resounding 4-0 thumping of Tony Pulis’ struggling West Bromwich Albion side at the Hawthorns. With a crucial period of domestic and European football on the horizon for the Blues, they will have been delighted with their performance in a notoriously tricky fixture.
With the Premier League back on the agenda following the international break, Antonio Conte will be hoping Chelsea’s hard-fought win over Manchester United last time out, can be the catalyst to his charges’ pursuit of Manchester City. The Blues sit nine points behind Pep Guardiola’s high flyers and need to close the gap as quickly as possible.
In the wake of Chelsea’s impressive 1-0 victory over title-rivals Manchester United on Sunday, much of the post-match hype centred around Antonio Conte’s decision to omit David Luiz from the matchday squad at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea returned to the top four in the Premier League with a hard-fought victory over former manager Jose Mourinho’s side. The pressure was very much on the Blues following a poor result in the Champions League but Antonio Conte’s men delivered when it mattered.
Chelsea endured a torrid evening in Rome as they were comfortably beaten at the Stadio Olimpico. Although the Blues had their chances, the 3-0 scoreline didn’t flatter the hosts and Conte will be searching for answers from his team.
Chelsea travel to Rome on Tuesday looking for the three points that will guarantee progress to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
Attention turns to the Carabao Cup for Chelsea as they welcome managerless Everton to Stamford Bridge in what promises to be an entertaining all-Premier League tie.
Chelsea survived a real scare at the hands of Watford this weekend to secure their first league win in three games in a topsy-turvy encounter. Antonio Conte will be hoping his charges can take confidence from their spirited fightback and use the result as a catalyst in the hunt to catch Manchester City.
Antonio Conte will be desperate to see his side get back to winning ways against a Watford side that sit two points above Chelsea in the Premier League table.
Eden Hazard bagged a brace as Chelsea drew 3-3 with Italian giants Roma at Stamford Bridge in a topsy-turvy Champions League encounter. The Blues initially led 2-0 before being pegged back to 2-3 in the second half, before the Belgian salvaged a crucial point for Antonio Conte’s men.
Chelsea will welcome a return to European competition after their domestic debacle at Crystal Palace as AS Roma visit Stamford Bridge on Champions League Match Day 3.
Chelsea succumbed to their third defeat of the season as Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace picked up a deserved home win and their first Premier League points of the campaign.
Chelsea travel across London later looking to inflict yet more misery on lowly Crystal Palace and get their season back on track. The Blues struggled to cope with Manchester City’s all-action approach last time out, and with injuries to N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata, Antonio Conte will have to introduce some of his squad players against Roy Hodgson’s men.
Fresh from his maiden Ballon d’Or nomination, N’Golo Kante has suffered a hamstring injury on international duty with France, leaving Antonio Conte desperately searching for positives.
At first glance, the international break couldn’t have come at a better time for Chelsea, with the Blues still reeling from being completely outplayed in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City. Record signing Alvaro Morata limped off in the first half of the loss with what has been confirmed as a month-long hamstring injury, with Kante’s issue heightening the ill-feeling around the Bridge even further this week.
Early season beset with injuries
For much of last season, Chelsea were blessed by a lack of injuries within the squad, a situation that allowed Conte to retain a familiar side on a weekly basis in the Premier League. This term, however, has posed different problems, with Eden Hazard missing the first month of the new campaign through an ankle injury and new signing Danny Drinkwater yet to be fit enough to feature for his new employers.
The squad’s relatively clean bill of health was cited by most observers as a major factor in the Blues winning the title last term, along with the absence of any European football. Indeed, having a larger fixture list already looks to be taking its toll on the squad this term.
Kante didn’t feature in the 5-1 demolition of Nottingham Forest but has still played 12 games in 56 days – a greatly increased workload on last season – and his all-action approach looks to have got the better of him momentarily. Morata’s injury is similar in nature and the Blues medical staff will be sincerely hoping that the increased amount of injuries is nothing to do with the training methods used by the staff at Cobham.
Morata and Kante have been the two star performers for Chelsea already this season and replacing both of them would be a huge challenge for Conte. Injuries are inevitable and squads are built to fight on four fronts – which is something Chelsea are looking to do this campaign.
During his time in the Premier League, Antonio Conte has shown himself to be an innovative coach that can deal with the ever-changing environment of English football. Whilst he and the Chelsea faithful will be praying Kante and Morata’s injuries are not as serious as they first appear, finding a tactical answer to the problem could be the Italian’s biggest test to date at Stamford Bridge.
As Chelsea cantered to the Premier League title last season, one man grabbed all the headlines for his incredible performances: N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman won the PFA Players Player of the Year, the Football Writers’ Player of the Season and picked up his second Premier League medal in as many seasons, after winning the title with Leicester City in 2015-16.
The 2016-17 Premier League season heralded one of the most successful seasons in Chelsea Football Club’s history.
In the aftermath of the defeat to Manchester City, Chelsea’s week goes from bad to worse as record signing Alvaro Morata is set to be sidelined for a month.
Former Chelsea man Kevin de Bruyne’s 67th-minute thunderbolt proved decisive as Antonio Conte’s men dropped points at Stamford Bridge for the third time already this season.
Chelsea travel to Madrid to take on Champions League specialists Atletico Madrid in what promises to be a fascinating encounter later this evening. The Blues sit two points clear at the top of Group C but will be fully aware of the defensive capabilities of Diego Simeone’s men and will have to be at their best to break them down.
The atmosphere at the Wanda Metropolitano promises to be electric, in Atletico’s first Champions League game in their new home.
Antonio Conte will not budge from his 3-4-3 formation that has served him so well domestically, and implementing it against FK Qarabag on match day one saw the Blues pick up a comprehensive 6-0 victory. With Atletico Madrid being notoriously difficult to break down, Conte will be hoping his creative influences within the team can pose sufficient problems for the Atletico defence.
Thibaut Courtois returns to the club that accommodated him on loan with his place as the Blues number 1 firmly cemented.
Andreas Christensen has been one of the star performers for the Blues this term and could flank the returning David Luiz and in-form Cesar Azpilicueta in the heart of Chelsea’s defence, with Gary Cahill set to miss out.
Marcos Alonso struggled at Stoke on Saturday but doesn’t seem to have much competition at left wing-back whilst the right-wing back debate continues with Victor Moses seemingly in pole position to start in the Spanish capital – despite Davide Zappacosta’s instant impact.
Integral to Chelsea’s success will be the stability in midfield, which N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko will need to provide to nullify the threats of Antoine Griezmann and company.
Creative opportunities against the notoriously resolute Atletico could be few and far between so Conte will be looking to Eden Hazard, Pedro and Saturday’s hat-trick hero, Alvaro Morata, to provide the firepower in what promises to be a game of few chances.
Predicted Starting XI
Where the Game Will Be Won or Lost
In front of their adoring home support, Atletico are one of the most difficult teams to encounter in European football. Their clinical forward players, coupled with stern defence, make it a daunting task for Europe’s elite and they have reached the final of the competition twice in the last four years. As always, N’Golo Kante will have to protect Chelsea’s back four in his usual combative style and it promises to be a big test for Tiemoue Bakayoko – although he demonstrated his capabilities in Monaco’s run to the Champions League semi-finals last season.
Chelsea will be desperate to leave Madrid in their toughest-looking match of the group whilst Atletico will be eager to make up for the two points they dropped at Roma on match day one. With defence being the order of the day, these two European heavyweights could well cancel each other out.
Following the Blues’ emphatic 4-0 victory at Stoke on Saturday afternoon, Antonio Conte spoke in his post-match interview of the good vibes around Stamford Bridge currently.
Michy Batshuayi bagged a hat-trick as Chelsea dispatched of Championship side Nottingham Forest with ease on Wednesday evening, with the Blues progressing to round four of the Carabao Cup.
Following an apathetic 0-0 draw with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, the news that Eden Hazard is fit and ready to play 90 minutes again comes as music to the ears of Chelsea fans.
Antonio Conte’s arrival at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2016 looked to be heralding the departure of Victor Moses – a nomadic winger that had struggled to make an impact during loan spells at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham.