Three reasons Chelsea can win the title in Conte’s first season
Kieran Beckles looks at three reasons why Antonio Conte can turn Chelsea into Premier League champions next season
They have a point to prove
It’s easy to forget that Chelsea have a lot of proven winners in their squad after a dramatically disappointing 2015/16 Premier League campaign. The west London side’s meek defence of their top-flight crown led to the sacking of Jose Mourinho back in December. The Special One may be gone but the likes of John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois make up the spine of the side. There’s a lot of title know-how so expect Chelsea to challenge.
Antonio Conte is a winner. So much so, in fact, that he named his daughter Vittoria, which means victory in Italian. His record with Juventus is impressive: three Serie A titles and one Coppa Italia crown. Perhaps more encouraging for Chelsea is Italy’s performance at Euro 2016. Saddled with what on paper appeared to be an underwhelming squad, the Azzurri were one of the surprise packages of the tournament, beating tipped nations Belgium and Spain. Only Germany’s luck with penalties denied Italy a semi-final spot. If Conte can work such wonders with the likes of Graziano Pelli and Emmanuele Giaccherini, imagine what the 46-year-old can achieve with Chelsea’s squad.
No European football
Like their bitter Premier League rivals, Chelsea will have no European distractions this season. The Blues have qualified for the Champions League on an annual basis since Roman Abramovich took over at Stamford Bridge. Even the Europa League spots eluded the west London side as Chelsea finished in tenth place last term. However, a break from Europe should be a blessing in disguise as Conte gets extra time on the training ground to preach his methods and lay a foundation for sustained success.