WWWWWWWWWWW – Thats the only way any article/review/blog after Chelsea’s win at Selhurst Park should start with. There have been such winning runs in premier league in the past but this one has to be the most special as there seems to be a consensus that the league has gotten harder by the season. Quality players, top managers and reasonable transfer spends across the league means the standard deviation across the league must be decreasing. Premier league now hosts the who’s who of global managerial talent. No team has any business of winning eleven games in a row. This winning run by Chelsea involves wins against title rivals, relegation battlers, home and away, against Mourinho, Guardiola among the other beaten managers. This is an achievement.
The reason this is a massive achievement is also that the teams figure out ways to neutralise you and snatch a point somewhere somehow. With Chelsea having played the exact same formation and played the same system (except some last 15 mins changes) and with the same players mostly, it’s a pleasant surprise that they have been able to keep winning. The truth is, while the new formation and system instilled a new belief in this bunch of players on their capabilities, it’s their focus, concentration and determination that’s made this winning run possible. No matter what the opponents try to neutralise Chelsea, they haven’t been able to do anything to this resilience and determination of players.
When teams go on such winning runs, a kind of impatience sets in with the players. They want to win, they want to kill games, they want to dominate – so it’s possible that they get impatient and frustrated at times. It requires great collective maturity to stay calm under such circumstances and trust in the team’s abilities to find a solution before the final whistle. After all, as the Willian goal is Man City showed, sometimes you need only 12 seconds to create and score a goal. So it can come any moment before the final whistle. In order to have this calm and wait for the moment, we should not be chasing the game and we should be reasonably in the game with the opponent within our sight and reach. And that’s possible only with a disciplined defensive performance. And that’s been the foundation of this phenomenal run.
And what about Conte? Took a massive risk by introducing a new formation and system mid way through the season, knowing well it’s not a commonly used formation in the league, knowing well he may not have the players to exactly fit into this set up and having to change the training methods – that’s a too big a risk. The world wouldn’t be kind on him if this had backfired. We would have heard how 4-3-3 is the system where Chelsea have flourished and won almost every single title in the recent past and still in his wisdom, Conte changed this to 3-4-3 mid-season without even having the right players at his disposal and that formation was never the problem and he should have waited longer and all that.
As with any run, this will also come to an end but just that time, if we have raked in a decent lead off our rivals, thst would be critical as February will start engaging our rivals with champions league obligations. And there’s also a January transfer window where some exciting things can happen. Now Chelsea are at least 6 points ahead of Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City. This is a nice cushion at this period in the league. As of now the winning run is still on and long may it continue.
Merry Christmas everyone!