Sarri's Chelsea vs. Conte's Chelsea: How do they compare heading into the first international break?

Maurizio Sarri’s beginning to life as Chelsea manager is almost identical to the start Antonio Conte made in 2016.

Heading into the first international break of the season, both managers had 100% starts in the Premier League.

Both Italians had shorter-than-ideal pre-seasons due to international tournaments – Conte arrived off the back of managing at the Euro’s with Italy.

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Conte’s side – having played a game less – started dramatically, with two late wins against West Ham and Watford, before easing past Burnley.

Sarri’s team, on the other hand, has had a mixed bag in terms of performances, despite the record.

Brilliant going forward, but question marks remain over the defensive capabilities of some of Chelsea’s defenders.

Conte’s 2016/17 side

The front three was the strength of Conte’s early season form.

Superstars Diego Costa and Eden Hazard were the main threats, but were backed up well by Willian, Pedro and Oscar.

The midfield pair of Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante were asked to screen the defence, something that Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio did so well for Conte at Juventus.

The defence at the start was the problem for Conte.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Ageing John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic were liabilities and Cesar Azpilicueta was being played at left-back.

It was only after the international break – when Chelsea went three games without a win – and Conte decided to change to his preferred three at the back system.

Sarri’s 2018/19 side

The formation may look the same but the mentality it is played with is completely different.

Whereas Conte’s focus was on defensive solidity, Sarri encourages an attacking brand of football.

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Hazard’s defensive responsibilities have been lessened and the Belgian has flourished under Sarri.

Similar problems remain at the back, with David Luiz and Marcos Alonso still proving to be suspect defensively, despite the latter chipping in at the other end of the pitch.

But Sarri is willing to turn a blind eye to a certain extent in the search of flowing, attacking football.

The addition of Jorginho to the midfield for £50m allowed Sarri’s team to control the game more, meaning Kante could make more of an impact offensively.