4 Things we can learn from Chelsea’s 2 – 1 win against West Ham
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on August 16, 2016
A much improved performance from Conte’s men after what was an embarrassing 15/16 season. We had energy, team work, fight and determination; things we barely saw last season.
We were unlucky to concede the equaliser which makes the overall view of the game less special, but it was a dominating performance for Antonio Conte’s first Premier League game and there’s no doubt he would have been impressed with what he saw, but as always there was a few things to worry about.
Kanté is still the machine he was for Leicester last season.
There were doubts from some pundits and fans alike that Kante would be able to reproduce the exceptional season he had for Leicester in their magical Premier League triumph last season where he was their engine in attacks as well as their mastermind in defence; breaking up opponents’ attack and intercepting killer balls. Well, that was the Kante we saw last night.
The frenchman completed 54 of his attempted 57 passes and West Ham attempted to play down the wing in order to take our midfield powerhouses Matic and Kante out the game, this allowed Kante to make only 2 (out of 5) tackles and 1 interception. However any time West Ham played through the middle Kante was the man to run forward and break them down; noticeably flooring Carroll, preventing a counter attack and creating an attack of our own. What was most refreshing to see was having a player like Kante, who has so much energy and a phenomenal ability to read the game, meant Matic could come into his own and show glimpses of the superstar he was of our 2014/15 title winning season. A midfield three of Fabregas, Matic and Kante would be superb.
No Fabregas had a noticeable effect.
We really struggled without a creative force in the midfield, 4 chances were created but none clear cut (Opta). While we had somewhat creative prowess in Eden Hazard and Willian, we really needed a playmaker and distributor from deep to propel attacks and make splitting passes through the opposition midfield and defence.
The eventual saviour of the game, where from a perfect knock on from debutant Michy Batshuayi, Diego Costa drilled the ball into the bottom corner to score his first Chelsea goal outside the box. However the glamour of that last minute goal took away attention of what I believe to be a poor performance. The Spainiard lost possession, misplaced passes and failed to link well with his midfielders on a consistent basis. Not to mention it’s unanimously believed he was lucky to be on the pitch when he scored. Only one game, yes, but with rumours of us being in the market for a new striker, such as Romelu Lukaku, Diego Costa is going to have to put in a much better performance to impress new boss Antonio Conte. (and perhaps work on his dribbling in training).
High press & Energy
What was a joy to watch was our energy and pressing of West Ham, putting them constantly under pressure and giving our fans the sight of fighting for the ball they’ve craved for some time. 8 of our 12 successful tackles came in West Ham’s half due to our full backs pushing forward as well as Oscar roaming around in his number 10 role doing what he does best – closing down opponents. Our fullbacks bombing down the wings is what eventually led to Azpilicueta winning our penalty that Hazard superbly converted to make 1-0.
As you can see in this graphic, Antonio Conte adopted his preferred style of fullbacks pushing up as wingers with a central midfielder (Kante) to drop back and help the defence, and it worked fantastically. Cahill and Terry didn’t put a foot wrong all game and really deserved their clean sheet, keeping Courtois’ night fairly quiet.
If this is a sign of things to come for this team such as high energy and teamwork, solid defensive display and players playing reaching the levels they’ve been missing, then Chelsea fans are in for quite an exciting season under Antonio Conte.