By Antony Jordan
After a season to forget it is all change at Stamford Bridge for the forthcoming campaign as in comes Antonio Conte as the former Italy boss takes over the reins from interim boss Guus Hiddink. The Chelsea faithful will be confident that last season’s problems, which began with a spat between then manager Jose Mourinho and the club doctor which ultimately saw the players refuse to play for the Portuguese manager, and ended with them recovering from relegation form to finish mid-table will not occur again, but can they bounce back to win the title that Leicester claimed from them last season?
Online sportsbook Bet365.com make them one of the favourites to challenge for the title this season, but can Conte, who guided Juventus to a trio of successive titles in Italy, get Chelsea playing like champions again? The Bet365.com Premier League Odds for Chelsea are as follows:
In players such as Edin Hazard, Willian, Oscar and Pedro Chelsea are certainly not lacking in creativity and attacking intent in midfield, but with Antonio Conte renowned as a manager who set both his Juventus and Italy teams to play defensively we see Chelsea fans not getting to watch too much exciting football this season.
Despite this the listed players at the disposal of Conte, along with strikers Diego Costa and Loïc Rémy, as well as £33m signing Michy Batshuayi from Marseille will give Chelsea plenty of firepower to be able to win matches when they attack despite the fact that their main aim will be not to concede goals.
The second of Conte’s major signings is a perfect signing for a defensively minded coach as they have landed N’Golo Kanté from Leicester for £32m and the Frenchman starred for The Foxes as they lifted the EPL title last season and for his country as they reached the final of Euro 2016 this summer. The midfielder covers more ground than most in the league is one of the top midfielders in the league and Leicester’s loss is certainly Chelsea’s gain as they will concede far fewer goals with him in the side.
Under Guus Hiddink, following the departure of Mourinho last season, this Chelsea squad showed that they can perform but the question of whether they can reclaim the title in the first season that Antonio Conte manages away from his native Italy remains to be seen. We would not be surprised to see a cup win in their season, either in the League Cup or FA Cup, but we feel that the league is too far beyond them with the likes of Pep Guardiola and former manager Jose Mourinho likely to have the edge at their new clubs in Manchester.
However, they will be competing against Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Watford in the Top London Club market and with Tottenham and Arsenal both struggling come the end of the season last time around, while Chelsea will be growing into their task under a new manager who’ll have gotten to grips with the EPL we can see the Stamford Bridge faithful having the bragging rights around the English capital.
We are backing Chelsea to be the top placed London club at the end of the 2016/17 EPL season @ 2.62 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!