Antonio Conte

Opposition View: Chelsea Adapting A New Stratagem

Football writer Garry Hayes insists Chelsea’s season has been an impressive one despite Manchester City’s dominance of the Premier League.
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- This week's Opposition View comes from journalist Garry Hayes
- Chelsea will be a stern test of Leicester City's abilities at Stamford Bridge, he told LCFC Radio
- The Blues host the Foxes in the capital on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off)
- Live coverage of the clash is available on Matchday Live from 2pm

While Pep Guardiola’s leaders hold a 16-point lead over the London outfit, the Blues have lost just four of their top flight fixtures so far this season and remain strong in cup competitions.

Chelsea welcome Leicester City to Stamford Bridge on Saturday (3pm kick-off) in a meeting of the last two English champions and Hayes says the Foxes must be wary of Antonio Conte’s men.

“The season has been a lot better than they’ve been given credit for because their record in the Premier League is one of the best, despite what Manchester City are doing,” he told LCFC Radio.

“It’s hard to keep up with a side who win so many matches in a row. Aside from Man City, Chelsea have been one of the best sides, they also play attractive football.

Conte hasn’t rested on his laurels of winning the title last season. They are in a stronger position, despite what the table tells us, and some might even say the squad is stronger too.

Garry Hayes

“They’ve had disappointing loses in games they should be winning, of course, against the likes of Burnley and West Ham, but overall they’ve had a good season.

“They’re in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and they’ve got Barcelona in the Champions League. That’s a game they’re not being written off for either which shows their quality.”

Chelsea have a different feel about them this term, tactically at least, after perfecting a three-man defence during their 2016/17 title-winning campaign.

However, Hayes believes Conte’s champions are starting to settle with their new stratagem – which bodes well for the final months.

“Conte brought in the three-man defence last season and it’s a five-man midfield this season which means they’ve got a plan A and B this term,” he added.

“You could guess their starting 11 last season but can’t anymore. It’s a work in progress but it’s coming together slowly.

“Conte hasn’t rested on his laurels of winning the title last season. They are in a stronger position, despite what the table tells us, and some might even say the squad is stronger too.”

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