It has been 8yrs that a Premier League team has retained a Premier League title and Chelsea are certainly stuttering in their defence this campaign and have failed to live up to the heights set under Antonio Conte in his record breaking debut season. The Italian has been a frustrated figure at times this campaign; however, he needs his team to go on a similar 14 winning run as of last year in the hope of catching the runaway leaders Manchester City. This weekend sees them revisit the scene where they secured the title back in May and Conte will be hoping for a positive result against a struggling West Brom side.
So where has it gone wrong at Chelsea this season so far? There is a feeling around Stamford Bridge that Conte is annoyed that the squad hasn’t been improved to the level to compete in all competitions this season. Rumours of player unrest has also emerged of late with David Luiz ruthlessly dropped against Manchester United after appearing to question the tactics of Conte in the recent Champions League defeat against Roma – with the Italian suggesting that his Brazilian centre half will need to change his ways and attitude to be considered again.
The Blues boss doesn’t take prisoners; best highlighted with his treatment of Diego Costa last season and the subsequent text-gate scandal in the summer. It makes you wonder if the recent issues with Luiz and reported unrest would have taken place had the likes of John Terry remained at the club. Gary Cahill is a good footballer no doubt, but is he really the type of leader that the club need, especially when there is these sorts of issues are arising?
Obviously controversy is nothing new at Stamford Bridge and over the years the club have overcome turmoil to achieve success. Last week’s victory against Mourinho was a massive boost for the club and Conte in general – who always seems to get a big result when question marks start arising over his future. The very fact the victory was achieved with the backdrop of Luiz’s axing has meant that a potential media witch-hunt and campaign against Conte over the decision wasn’t forthcoming – although it is something that will rear its ugly head if Chelsea against a poor result at the Hawthorns and the Brazilian centre half isn’t included in the starting lineup.
So as mentioned Chelsea go into the game off the back of three consecutive Premier League wins to a ground where they have had mixed fortunes over the years. If you look and compare betting odds for the game they favour a big victory for the Blues against Tony Pulis’ struggling side. Some of the football betting tips out there are suggesting that Conte’s men winning by 3 or more goals will provide a decent return if punters are willing to take the plunge.
With Chelsea 9pts behind Manchester City victory is paramount to relive pressure around the club at present. Given the form of the Baggies at present it appears to be an easy 3pts as Conte looks to get the Blues title defence back in check.
Written by Jack Wrafter