Last season was Chelsea’s worst of the Roman Abramovich era, and that surely meant one thing for the summer transfer market: big spending.
Somehow, Antonio Conte has managed the big spending, but without appearing to change all that much. N’Golo Kante came in at £30million, Michy Batshuayi at £33million.
Yet, in their opening game, not all that much seemed to have changed. The side looked startlingly familiar to the one that finished tenth under Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink.
Conte hasn’t torn the place up, evidently deciding that instead, it will be his tactics that changes the way Chelsea operate.
Playing Eden Hazard in a more central role already seems to have paid dividends, while Kante is so assured in midfield that the full-backs can press on freely.
Interestingly, it’s Kante, not Batshuayi who should have a bigger impact. The latter is a proven goalscorer, albeit not in the Premier League, but Diego Costa already has that covered, particularly with Hazard at his best.
Kante is the epitome of why Conte’s sides work so well. His tactics are fairly subtle and not too flashy, but they yield results; and it’s Chelsea, not Manchester United. Regardless, how they play will ultimately be irrelevant if the Italian gets them back at the top.