Less than a month has passed since Chelsea’s famous win over Atlético Madrid, since then it’s been downhill journey.A narrow loss to in form Manchester City was followed swiftly by a shock dismantling at the hands of Crystal Palace. The recent victory against Watford was less than emphatic, despite the scoreline.
Chelsea now welcome an Everton side in the Carabao Cup who will look to impress an incoming new manager after Ronald Koeman’s sacking.
But could this game be a blessing in disguise?
Lack of options when injury hits
Since his switch to 3-4-3 gave rise to a 13 game winning streak that ensured the Premier League trophy ended up at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte has built up his reputation as a formidable tactician.
Last month’s win at Atlético, for example, saw Conte use a 3-5-2 formation, the midfield trio of N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoué Bakayoko dominating a Madrid side who had lost only once in their previous 23 Champions League home games.
Mounting injuries have stifled Conte’s tactical playbook, though, limiting Conte’s ability to respond to problems other teams create. The 3-5-2 formation was employed again in the early stages of the Man City match until Alvaro Morata’s injury forced Conte to reshuffle his deck.
Youth team players Ethan Ampadu and Kyle Scott have been on the bench in recent games and, with Conte set to rotate heavily, it may be the youngsters chance to shine.
Conte is not afraid to give youth a chance, he has shown as much when he put Paul Pogba into his Juventus side at just 18.
If there are young players who deserve to play regularly and give me a good feeling, then why not? – Antonio Conte
If the Chelsea youth can put in a good performance against Everton, they can prove to their manager they are a viable option going forward. This would allow Conte the option to rotate and the ability to flex his tactical muscles in the games ahead.
For all of Chelsea’s success since Roman Abramovich has taken over, the failure of youth team players to graduate to the first team is a blemish that must be removed.
Many manager’s have tried, but so far none have achieved this feat. If Conte can do this, he may well break the cycle and bring stability to the Chelsea manager position.
Failing to give Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne first team chances has come to haunt Chelsea with both players becoming fundamental to their respective teams.
In Antonio Conte, Chelsea now have a manager who will take a chance on youth. It is up to the players to grasp it.
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