It was one of the best kept secrets in football and now it’s finally been confirmed, Antonio Conte will be the manager of Chelsea next season. Before then, the Italian will be aiming to guide his country to European glory in France but once Euro 2016 is over, all eyes will be on Stamford Bridge. The question is, will Conte be a success at Chelsea next season?
Despite signing a three year contract, anything but a successful season in his first campaign in the Premier League, could lead to an early exit for Conte. The press have been speculating on the problems of a current match-fixing trial, in which Conte is involved. However, according to Italian football expert, Gabriele Marcotti, this will have no impact on his ability to manage the club. Which is good, considering the amount of pressure he will be under at Chelsea.
Certainly Chelsea need a big name manager and with Manchester City appointing Pep Guardiola and Manchester United seemingly set to bring in Jose Mourinho, Roman Abramovich had to act. Conte has a reputation for being an intense coach, one who likes to get involved on the training pitch and expects high standards from his players, in training and on a match day. If a player does not fit in to Conte’s ideas and plans, then chances are, he will not remain at Stamford Bridge for very long.
One of the big things Conte will bring with him to Chelsea, is the 3-5-2 formation. The Italian has used this formation throughout his managerial career, with success, especially at Juventus. However, not one team has managed to win the Premier League title by playing this way throughout a season. Yes, teams such as Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton have used it at times this season but it’s not a regular set-up. It will be interesting to see if Conte tries to bring this in to Chelsea or will change his usual style and play four at the back.
Juventus did not reach the heights expected of them in European competition under Conte and one of the main reasons given for this, was his reluctance to change his formation and tactics. It’s been proven in the Premier League this season, that fans will not stand for stubbornness, if results are not going their way. That being said, it’s unlikely Chelsea will be in European competition next season and this may give Conte more time on the training pitch, allowing him to get his ideas across. However, Conte has a reputation for being a tough manager, one who prefers to win rather than entertain and this is not the news the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar were hoping to hear. They clearly had enough of this style of management under Jose Mourinho, so why will it be any different under Conte?
With Leicester and Tottenham doing well this season, Manchester United and Liverpool expected to perform better next season, Manchester City surely upping their game and Arsenal being Arsenal, it will still be a big ask for Conte, just to get Chelsea in to the top four in 2016/17.
As things stand, Chelsea are second favourites with Bet365 at 5/1, to win the Premier League next season. In addition, Conte is 6/4 with SkyBet, to win a trophy next season. Given Chelsea’s current standing in English football, the fact Conte will be new to the league and the strength of opposing teams, it will take a brave person to back those odds.