Gross Improvement at the Bridge
"The rising tide lifts all boats"-John F. Kennedy
Well, this saying/idiom has being a re-occuring theme for Chelsea this season. After last season's shambles and sub-par performance from big names at the club, its been a different ball game this season. Renaissance/reincarnation, are the words. Conte has wielded his power as a tactician and completely turned around a team that faltered last season to the summit of English football. So, let's look at those who've had their fortunes turned at the arrival of the Italian tactician:
PFA player of year in 2014/15 season but things turned sour the following season; Looked overweight at start of the season, injuries and confidence lacking, It was a bad season for the talented Belgian. Although he did rediscover some of his swagger towards end of last season, it was a poor season overall from the talented mercurial winger.
Come 2016/17, the Belgian has once again brought his panache to the fore, consistently isolating players and beating them with ease, a feat he often exalted on opposing defenders in our title winning season. The change of formation has also aided his revamp from slumber; relieved from tracking back and now given freedom to roam between the lines, there is no doubt Hazard is back to his prime again and ready to have a huge say on this season's player of the year award. And if you needed further testament that the belgian is back to his prime, the Real Madrid rumors have resurfaced once again. A theme that's finds its way to the press when the Belgian is on song.
Well, who would have thought, Moses in the team; not that he's been bad, but he's always missed the cut and often seen as one who needs teeth cutting at some premier clubs, even when his pre-season form has proved he belongs. This season has been a different one for the Nigerian, he's been given an extended niche in the team and he's grasped the chance with both hands. He's now awing-back cum winger; naturally a flamboyant player, Moses has balanced up this Chelsea side. His performances haven't gone unnoticed either, he's being rewarded with a new long term contract by the club. After his own 'Christopher Columbus', its now clear the Nigerian has settled down and is ready to stake a claim as one the best in his new position.
It's always great to poach a player from Barcelona and even better when you get one who's had rave reviews all his career. That was the case with Pedro, he had aa successful trophy-laden career at Barcelona and it was expected that it would rub onto the club. But for all the euphoria that comes with a signing from Barcelona, there is a huge risk that it may be broken goods in transit or theplayer might be past it. He did look past it in his first season in English football and fans did wonder if he was another 'nostrum case.' Under Conte, Pedro has been one beneficiary of the change in formation, often used as an outlet for the team when everybody else seems to have an off day. His recuperation from his horrible first season has being a major reason why the club is enjoying great asylum at the top; He's even benched last season best player, Willian, from the starting eleven-- a feat that seemed impossible just a year ago.
The beast! Well, he was two years ago in that title winning season and was arguably the best defensive midfielder at the time. Matic's downfall was one of the many reasons the club found itself in a peculiar situation last season. Avital cog in our title winning season it was surprising that the Serbian regressed so much within a short period of time. He did talk about wanting to leave, but Conte convinced him to stay and that has worked out for the lank Chelsea number 21. He's rekindled his old form and has looked every bit the player he was a couple of years ago. His partner in crime, N'golo Kante, change of formation and tactician Antonio Conte has aided the Serbian in rediscoverinig his love for the game.
Its definitely been gross improvement at the bridge this season. Everyone including the youth have brought something to the table.
And its worked brilliantly; now the club is out of the gutters of last season and on course to win its second premier league title in three years--a dominance of some sort considering the only team to have won the trophy in that period is Leicester city, now involved in a relegation fight.