Calling Antonio Conte’s start at Chelsea impressive is fair enough. They’ve won three from three and have managed to get their best players performing, creating chances and working coherently as a unit.
Unfortunately for the Blues, this was rarely seen last season. The open defensive displays, shocking attempts at opening up defences and poor finishing cost the club on a number of occasions, leaving them briefly flirting with relegation and changing manager yet again.
This year it should be a little different. At the very least there will be a honeymoon period for Conte and his players do not have the extra concern of European football to add miles in their legs and minds.
Anything other than a top four finish will be considered a massive failure for Chelsea. The summer investment may not have been as dramatic as was once suggested, but the pressure is there to make something of this season and, ideally return with a trophy.
Whether they’re champions elect or not, who should Conte look to use more frequently…
Chelsea’s golden boy doesn’t get much of a look-in for a player they supposedly have so much faith in. Even in the darkest days towards the end of 2015, Loftus-Cheek remained on bench-warming duty, awaiting the occasional cameo.
Conte clearly has faith in the youngster and is willing to use him in a number of different roles. Unfortunately, it could take an injury or two for the Blues to regularly use Loftus-Cheek and allow them to discover just how good he is, or can be.
Most likely he will fill in for Nemanja Matic, meaning he will be allowed to freedom to break from box-to-box while N’Golo Kante guards the deeper ground behind him.
Loans have been the plague Chalobah’s career. They have had varied success, although the outcome of his loan spells seems to have little impact on how Chelsea value his presence in their first team squad.
He was once the star of their academy, lynchpin of the teams and first-team regular in waiting. It hasn’t quite worked out like that, surprisingly for a player with his versatility. He could comfortably play either in central defence or in a midfield role, yet he cannot even make his way into Conte’s reckoning, or so it seems.
The decision not to loan Chalobah during this season may just suggest that his shot at first-team action is coming.
There is an inevitability that Conte will start some games with a two striker system at some point this season.
He has already jumped to that alternative in the latter stages of games to great success. Batshuayi seems to have a natural understanding with Diego Costa, making for a lethal double act. The Belgian, however, will likely be required to play a lone forward role this year.
Costa’s injuries and suspensions are almost a guarantee, which could leave quite a burden on the former Marseille man.
Hopefully, he will get a few starts under his belt before being thrown in at the deepest of deep ends.