Conte’s men retained their top spot in the League after a 2-1 victory which saw them come back from going a goal down early on the first half
Goals from Pedro and Victor Moses ensured that the Blues won their London derby in superb fashion. After a slow first half where they appeared a bit rattled after Spurs caught them off guard, Chelsea slowly found their feet toward the end of the first 45 minutes and carried on their momentum into the second half, where they took the lead and ensured that it stayed that way.
Pedro Of The Past
The former Barcelona man netted a superb equalizer from 20 yards out, late in the first to cancel out Christian Eriksen’s early strike and bring his side back level. Due to Willian’s departure from the club due to personal reasons, Pedro was thrust into the starting XI and the Spaniard has made the most of his chance.
The La Masia graduate has previously admitted that he wished to return to Barcelona after last season’s horrendous campaign, but that move didn’t go through and Chelsea fans can be thankful that it didn’t. Since the arrival of Conte and the implementation of his 3-4-3 formation, Pedro has been just one of the players that have seen an improvement in form and fortunes.
He seems extremely comfortable playing as a part of a front three, having done that for most of his career at Barcelona. His equalizer was his third goal of the season and by far his best in a Chelsea shirt.
He has formed a superb understanding with Victor Moses on the right flank, and it doesn’t look like Willian will be getting back into the team with Pedro in this kind of form.
Splitting The Red Sea Defences
Few words can come close to describing Victor Moses’ growing importance to this team. Thanks to Antonio Conte, the much-travelled winger is now one of the first names on the Italian’s team sheet.
It’s been an unbelievable turnaround in fortunes for the 25-year-old and his story is that of hope and lesson for youngsters and everyone else who are a part of Chelsea’s ‘loan army’, that one day they too can don the Blue of Chelsea and earn victories for their side at Stamford Bridge.
The Nigerian international’s winner was met with a massive roar across Stamford Bridge and his substitution was met with a well-deserved standing ovation. His London derby winner was his fourth for Chelsea in all competitions in 14 appearances this season.
His outstanding stamina, superb work ethic, humble nature and no nonsense style of play make him a joy for any manager and has already made him a fan favourite in and around the SW6.
There is not a person in the Chelsea dressing room who can do better what the Nigerian does on this right flank and as a result, even Pedro playing in front of him is reaping benefits.
One wonders how Jose Mourinho could let a talent like him leave out on loan to rivals Liverpool, cross town rivals West Ham United and Stoke City in each of the 3 seasons past.
Playstation Defending: World Class
The second coming of David Luiz has been nothing short of brilliant. Not even the most optimistic of fans could have possibly fathomed that the Brazilian would play such a key part in Antonio Conte’s 3 man defence.
Alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill, he is thriving in that role and the 29-year-old seems like a completely different player that left for a world –record fee in 2014. He has been integral in the middle of the three man defence and Conte seems to have ironed out any flaws in his game.
His first spell at Chelsea and even his time at PSG was marred with moments of madness and he was often accused of losing focus or ‘switching off’ in the middle of games.
But since the Blues have started playing in the 3-4-3, there have barely been any calamitous errors from Luiz and his ball playing ability makes him a perfect fit for Conte’s team as the Italian insists on starting attacks from the back.
It’s been quite a few years since the player was famously described by Gary Neville as ‘if he were being controlled by a 10-year-old on a Playstation’. If that’s still the case, even his most staunchest of critics will certainly admit that Conte has upped his level to World Class.
Story Of The Subs
Fabregas, Ivanovic, Willian and Oscar. These were some of the first names on the team sheet and none of them ever missed an important game for Chelsea, unless injured. In the space of a few months, Alonso, Moses, Pedro and Luiz have taken their place and are doing so well, that it’s hard to see any of them break into this Chelsea side.
Cesc Fabregas can’t play the midfield roles of Matic and Kante, Oscar can to an extent, but not quite as well as the Serbian of the Frenchman. Ivanovic will likely never play on the right flank for the Blues again and the only chance he has of getting back into this Chelsea squad is if he is able to play as a center back.
Willian, Chelsea’s star player last season and often their saviour, has been relegated to the bench by Conte in favour of Pedro. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was expected to be more involved in the team this season, but the 20-year-old has made only one appearance so far, a 9 minute cameo against Leicester City.
This summer’s big money buy, Michy Batshuayi has barely featured in the Premier League due to Costa’s brilliant form. None of this can be the fault of manager, because he can’t possibly break something that is not broken.
Given the way things are going, it is yet to be seen how Captain John Terry, arguably the greatest ever Chelsea player and one of the finest defenders of all time will ever make it into the starting XI.