Gerry Francis recently came up with the ‘magic’ formula as to how to beat Chelsea….
“You have to really close them down all over the pitch and concentrate for ninety minutes.”
Thank you Gerry….don’t call us! Of course his advice was a little obvious and even the most unqualified among us could come up with that tactical plan!
There is however only one way to beat Chelsea now, since Antonio Conte has changed his formation. With only one defeat in the last 22 games since the Arsenal 3-0 defeat back in September, opposition managers have been scratching their heads as how to approach any game with Chelsea.
Unfortunately for Premier league managers, the only way at present to beat Chelsea, comes down to the luck of the fixture list. The best chance to beat Chelsea is….to play them in April or May! Yes, there is no magic formula. The runaway Premier league leaders could ironically march out on 15th April at Old Trafford as newly crowned champions with 6 games left to play! The irony of course, is that will be in front of their former boss and the last Chelsea manager to lift the trophy, Jose Mourinho.
This scenario does of course involve a series of results going in Chelsea’s favour. Should Chelsea carry on their brilliant form and also beat their closest rivals Manchester City on 5th April at Stamford Bridge, then it will be virtually game, set and match.
This is a small table of possible games left to play…….
|TEAM||POSSIBLE GAMES LEFT TO PLAY All COMPETITIONS|
You can see from this table that all Chelsea’s title rivals, besides Liverpool have many more potential games and distractions left to the end of the season. Liverpool seem only to raise their game in big matches. Arsenal are about to go out of the Champions League. The crushing blow by Bayern Munich could send their season into a downward spiral. With the added uncertainty over the future of Wenger, Sanchez and Ozil, it’s not looking good for the Gunners.
Manchester City are best equipped for a good run in the Champions League. This is surely the number one target for Guardiola as City have never won the trophy before. You can write off both Spurs and Manchester United for the title. The Europa League has put paid to any Spurs title challenge in recent seasons. This will continue to do so unless, Pochettino has a secret master plan to go out of the competition early! Manchester United are the only club in all four competitions and on a great run. They will probably get a Champions League spot due to their current form, but to win the title this season will just be a step too far.
So should Chelsea wrap up the title by the middle of April, Conte will have no hesitation in trying out some of his younger or reserve team players. There is of course a lot of grumblings on the current Chelsea subs bench. Transfer rumours of Zouma, Begovic, Bathshuayi, Solanke and Fabregas are coming thick and fast every day, due to a lack of first team action. That will be a good chance for Conte to show loyalty and give these stars and others like Loftus-Cheek, John Terry, Ake and Chalobah a few first team starts. What that means in Chelsea’s remaining fixtures is the opposition will then have the best chance to beat Chelsea and their make shift line-up.
Chelsea will play both Middlesbrough and Sunderland at the end of the season. Two teams that will be fighting for Premier league survival and possible upsets will be on the cards. Chelsea will already be champions then. They will no longer be in a fight for victories as they experiment with the team. Two seasons ago in 2014/15, Chelsea were in a similar position. They wrapped up the Premier League title early. By April they had only lost 2 games all season and didn’t even lose in the Champions League. They went out on the away goals rule to PSG. Then they went to West Brom. Chelsea put out a team of juniors and reserves and got hammered 3-0. Their worst defeat of the season. They didn’t care of course…they were Champions!