Since his arrival in England last summer, Antonio Conte has quickly restored the feel good factor at Stamford Bridge.
A vile start to the 2015/16 season lead to the sacking of Jose Mourinho and subsequent appointment of Guus Hiddink as interim manager, but even that wasn’t enough to save the crestfallen champions from finishing tenth: with the incomparable Leicester City taking their place as champions.
A natural winner
The announcement of Antonio Conte as the new Chelsea manager couldn’t have come at a better time, as it was made towards the tail end of an abysmal season.
His exploits at the Euro 2016 with the Italian national team may have put him on the spotlight, but it was his success at Juventus that enabled him to gunner considerable traction among supporters of his new club.
A proven ringmaster in big games and an over-enthusiastic celebrator of goals, Antonio Conte has inspired Chelsea back to dominance in the English game.
The Blues currently enjoy a marginal lead at the top of the Premier League standings: seven points behind their closest challengers Tottenham with less than nine games to go.
Hazard a hazard!
In stark contrast to last season, Chelsea have made significant incursions under the Italian talisman, with Eden Hazard pulling all the strings in the final third.
In fact, Hazard was the standout performer in the midweek title decider against Manchester City, a beguiling match of football that saw the 26-year old score a brace as the Blues registered an emphatic 2-1 victory over City.
The Belgian has been flying and firing all season long, shipping 13 goals while providing five assists in a season that has seen Chelsea blitz past teams with brazening attacking might.
Fewer games advantage
With the Blues looking every inch a title winning side, playing fewer games than their closest title contenders has made a world of difference for Antonio Conte’s side.
While other top four challengers were making long trips around Europe for Champions League fixtures and cross country train trips for domestic cup ties, lack of European football coupled with an early exit in the EFL Cup gave Chelsea ample time to prepare and stabilize themselves as worthy title challengers.
Already assured of Champions League football next season, how Conte rotates his first eleven will be of the essence in his quest for more success at the Bridge.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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