Discipline And Spirit Return To Champions Chelsea’s Side

It’s fair to say that Chelsea were expected to perform better against Burnley in their opening Premier League fixture. But the champions lost their discipline, shape and ultimately the game.

Talk of a crisis has hovered over the club ever since.

Next up was an away day to face last season’s runners-up Tottenham Hotspur, who managed to record a comfortable 2-0 away win at Newcastle United.

Now while Spurs dominated possession and created chances against Chelsea, the champs managed to stay focussed and come away with the victory.

It was a performance that reminded me of the run that saw Chelsea secure the league title last season.

They were dogged, players stuck to their roles and they didn’t panic.

They took the lead through a fantastic free-kick from Marcos Alonso in the twenty-fourth minute. The Lilywhites finally made their superior possession and numbers of chances created count, when Christian Eriksen’s set-play was headed into his own net by Michy Batshuayi with just eight minutes remaining.

The Blues didn’t down tools or lose their heads as they had done just a week earlier against Burnley. No they managed to get themselves back into the game.

Then on the eighty-eighth minute, Spanish wing-back Alonso popped up again and this time his goal was enough to secure all three points at Wembley.

It was fitting that it was twenty-six year old Alonso that grabbed the all important brace.

The left-sided player embodies the spirit that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte wants to see from his players. The wing-back gets his head down and does what’s expected of him, actually he probably plays above expectations. He’s a committed footballer and gives his all for the jersey.

Everyone in Blue were fully committed and that’s what got them through. It’s not as easy as people think, to sit back, soak up pressure and then take your chances when they come.

One slip in concentration and it could ruin your whole game plan.

Conte deserves credit for getting his side back into the right frame of mind and by tweaking the system with a new 3-5-1-1 formation.

If a club is truly in crisis then they rarely come away with a win like that. They don’t play for their manager and don’t show such mental strength.

The Chelsea boss was delighted with his side’s display:

‘I want to thank my players, everyone, because they showed me great desire, great spirit, great will, and great heart,’

Against your main rivals, getting the win is the most important thing. Those victories could be the difference between top spot and not getting your hands on the league trophy. It’s all very well having all of the ball like Spurs and Arsenal had this weekend but if you don’t convert that into wins then it’s utterly pointless (literally).

The opening day defeat to Burnley was no doubt a wake-up call for the champions and it would’ve hurt everyone at Stamford Bridge.

Getting right back to winning ways against a team like Tottenham is just the response Antonio Conte would have craved and he’ll hope that they can use that result as a springboard to gain some much needed momentum as they look to defend their title!

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