It’s that time of year again when Chelsea implode, their manager comes under scrutiny and a new face is expected to take the managerial hot seat when the summer starts.
Antonio Conte faced one of his worst nightmares at the weekend when his side suffered a 3-1 home defeat to rivals Tottenham which all but ended their top four hopes.
To the surprise of a few, since their title-winning season last term, Chelsea have had to face and deal with a lot of drama during this campaign.
From Diego Costa’s departure to Conte’s lack of trust in the people who employ him, the Chelsea faithful will be angry and annoyed at how things have panned out this season.
Conte is now expected, by many, to leave the club in the summer, but the Italian shouldn’t leave without taking at least some of the blame for Chelsea’s collapse this season.
#1 Actions speak louder than words
From the very get-go, Conte has constantly spoken at his disapproval in the way the club has conducted themselves in the transfer market. Conte has been unable to get the players that suit his specific system which has left them open to exposure because opposing teams are now more used to their style of play. However, his constant moaning in press conferences has only damaged the club because it will eventually leave them without Champions League football next season. Therefore, Conte should have walked away from the club at the start of the season because it would have allowed a new manager with new ideas to spark the club back into life.
#2 Bakayoko needs to start (Sarcastic tone)
One player that came through the doors at Stamford Bridge in the summer was midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. The Frenchman was a highly-rated purchase from Ligue 1 side Monaco, who possessed a number of top-rated players. But it seems Chelsea were given their worst player because the youngster has been a disastrous signing. Conte shouldn’t take the blame for Bakayoko’s signing because it was understandable why they added him to their ranks. However, from day one, he showed that he was unable to keep up with the pace of the Premier League nor show the form that won him plaudits at his previous club. Yet, Conte continued to persist with him which proved costly on a number of occasions, with the 4-1 defeat at Watford the prime example.
#3 Failure to change the system
During Conte’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, he started his reign by playing a flat back four before changing to his preferred system of three at the back after a number of poor results. That resulted in a Premier League title. However, during this campaign, the Italian has not tactically changed his formation or tried anything different in order to get more out of his side. As a result, his teams are now more predictable and opposition teams have found it more comfortable to play against them.
#4 Lack of faith in youngsters
There is no doubt that Bakayoko was a Conte signing. His arrival meant that Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was watching from the sidelines during the club’s title-winning campaign, had to go out on loan to Crystal Palace to earn more game time. Conte’s lack of faith in players such as Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Kenedy has been another problematic issue. Though he is not the first Chelsea manager to be in this position. However, there were moments during the season when Chelsea needed a spark, something to lift the crowd. That is where the academy players come into it but two of them were out on loan doing the business and the other (Hudson-Odoi) was watching on from the bench.
#5 Decision to let Costa leave
This is perhaps a controversial one but it has ended up proving to be a costly decision by Conte, who fell out with the striker last January. Costa made it clear that he wanted to leave for the big money in China which infuriated his manager. When the season ended Conte sent the Spain international packing and the Brazilian-born player moved back to Atletico Madrid. Alvaro Morata walked through the doors at the Bridge, but with only 11 Premier League goals to his name and only one league strike since the turn of the year, Chelsea have missed Costa badly. Even when Costa wasn’t scoring, he was still proving to be a nuisance to the opposition. On the other hand, Morata has been the complete opposite and January recruit Olivier Giroud moved from the bench at the Emirates Stadium to the bench at Stamford Bridge.