There is no question that #Chelsea wholeheartedly deserved to lift the Premier League trophy. Yes, Tottenham were perhaps the most exciting team to watch, but they still lack that winning mentality to earn silverware. Conte’s Chelsea were ruthless, going on that 13-match winning after switching to that infamous 3-4-3 formation. Having no European football to deal with for the first time in 20 years obviously aided their course, so it will be a different prospect next time around.

How the title was won

A football team can be broken up into three parts. Defence, midfield and attack. At the back, Chelsea were near indestructible for much of the season, with the back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill keeping 16 clean sheets.

Advertisements
Advertisements

In the middle of the park it was all about N’Golo Kante. The little Frenchman has become the first outfield player to win back-to-back PL titles with different clubs, and his energy and determination relieved much of the pressure off the defence and started many attacks for the front three. In the final third, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard ran riot, with Pedro regularly contributing, and the defensive shackles were lifted off the wide players in Conte’s system.

The fact that Chelsea made the least amount of changes over the season (47) showed not only how well the system worked, but also how well Conte’s men were playing. Last season’s sole in-form player Willian, could barely get a look in, with Cesc Fabregas regularly coming off the bench. It was ironic that Chelsea’s £33 million signing Michy Batshuayi got the goal that won The Blues the title without having a made a league start for the club.

Advertisements

No serious injuries and no players lost to the African Cup of Nations meant it was that Conte could pick the same 11 players every week.

The next step

Before Chelsea cast an eye to next season and the mouth-watering prospect of European nights returning to Stamford Bridge, they have the small matter of the FA Cup Final to deal with. They will be the hot favourites to defeat Arsenal, but with The Gunners bidding to perhaps save their season and Arsene Wenger’s future, it will not be an easy prospect. With Arsenal’s #Champions League future out of their hands, they will probably need an FA Cup win to salvage their campaign. That said, Chelsea will be well rested for the Cup final. Conte made nine changes after the title was won for the clash against Watford, and you can’t imagine the intensity is going to be high when they welcome the already relegated Sunderland to the Bridge on Sunday.

Despite having a title winning squad, additions will be needed in the summer. Diego Costa looks more than likely to be leaving the club, so a new striker will be the first order of business.

Advertisements

Former player Romelu Lukaku would be welcomed back in West London but it would take a bid of £70 million to land the Belgian. After a much frustrating season, Michy Batshuayi looks likely to be sent out on loan. Cesc Fabregas’s future is in the balance, but after many impressive performances he will have persuaded Conte to keep him, but it is now up to the Spaniard if he wants to stay. Regardless of that, The Blues will need another holding midfielder to provide cover for Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante, with Monaco’s Tiémoué Bakayoko linked with a move.

With this being Conte’s first summer transfer window to prepare for, you can expect that a few players from his native Italy could be on their way to the #Premier League. Midfielder Radja Nainggolan (Roma), defender Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), as well as Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata who was at Juventus last season.

Same again next year?

As much as Chelsea were the best this campaign, it would be naive to label them as favourites to lift the trophy again in 12 months’ time. The squad does need some work and the return of the demands of Europe will be hard to juggle with the PL and the other competitions. They will of course be there or thereabouts, but you would have to imagine that only an earlyish exit from Europe would push them closer to the title. With Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham all in Europe next season, it may be the one who falls first that has the best chance of the Premier League title.