Chelsea chief Conte's masterful tactical nous will boost Blues glory bid, says Shed hero Nevin

Masterful tactician Antonio Conte’s ability to act swiftly when he spots a weakness in his Chelsea side could prove invaluable as the seasons unfolds.

That’s the verdict of former Blues striker Pat Nevin, who says he saw first hand the decisive streak in the Stamford Bridge chief in the 0-0 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.

Conte took action to modify his line-up once he saw the Gunners midfield control large passages of the game. The Italian coach replaced Pedro, admittedly struggling with a slight knock, with enforcer Tiemoue Bakayoko, and the balance of power certainly shifted.

And former Shed End favourite Nevin, who made 237 appearances for Chelsea scoring 45 goals, said: “Chelsea started well but Arsenal managed to finish the first half stronger. For the second half, Antonio Conte spotted the growing problem and with Pedro injured, introduced Tiemoue Bakayoko and all but nullified Arsenal’s threat in an instant.

“We pretty much know that Antonio will quickly see a tactical problem and move to do something about it. Once again his change had the desired effect of stiffening up the midfield and wrestling back dominance and control. Arsenal had a little flurry at the end briefly, but that was more to do with the extra man.”

Meanwhile, former Scotland goal-getter Nevin believes another positive aspect of the display against Arsene Wenger’s side was the performance of Eden Hazard after his second-half introduction. And he hopes that the Belgian maestro will gain more match fitness and is chosen to face Nottingham Forest in the League Cup at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

He added: “It is times like these when you fully appreciate what Eden brings to the table. You can match up all over the pitch as much as you like but if someone dances past three players, your system and structure is smashed.

“A fully fit Eden is probably what was needed on this specific occasion and I reckon that even though we only got to see a few of his dribbles and runs, it was quite a considerable step forward from his short appearance against Qarabag. The only way to truly get match fitness is of course to play matches, preferably full matches in a competitive environment.

“Against Qarabag, I could see that Eden knew exactly what to do but the explosive power was not quite there after going past the first couple of opponents. Fortunately, that will come back quickly and I for one am hoping that 90 minutes against Nottingham Forest tomorrow evening might just do the trick.”