Is Chelsea a Better Side Under Conte?

Chelsea raced to their second title in three seasons on Friday after a 1-0 win over West Brom. With the title sewn up, we compare how the season unfolded for the Blues in two seasons.

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Chelsea Manager Antonio Conte

Chelsea raced to their second title in three seasons on Friday after a 1-0 win over West Brom. With the title sewn up, we thought it would be a good time to compare and contrast Chelsea’s recent title winning sides

We take a look at the squad quality, opposition, game plan and which side was more entertaining. Each manager will receive a mark out of five for each category, and the winner is the squad with the most points.

Squad:

There is fairly little to choose from between the two squads. With less than a season between Mourinho leaving Chelsea and Conte’s appointment, there has been a little turnover of players. The big difference comes in the shape of N’Golo Kante. He has been superb this season giving Chelsea a level of balance they didn’t always have under Jose. Hazard has also returned to a similar level of form which he showed displayed in Jose’s title winning season.

It’s very close as both squads are excellent and have a good level of strength in depth; however, the addition of Kante gives Conte a slight edge. Conte: 4.5, Mourinho: 4.

Opposition

Neither side have been involved in a tight title race. There never seemed to be any chance of the title race being decided in the final game of the season.

United have been in a transitional period, City in 2014/15 were very poor, Arsenal were being Arsenal and Spurs were still developing and this season had a string of poor results mid-season that saw them fall too far behind to catch up.

The main difference in opposition was actually outside of the Premier League. Conte’s side were not involved in European football this season, which gave Chelsea somewhat of an edge in the Premier League.

Jose’s men, on the other hand,  reached the Round of 16 of the Champions League and played 52 games. It’s been proven in the past that having to play midweek football takes a toll on the team, so this one goes to Jose. Conte: 3, Mourinho: 4.

Game Plan and mentality:

Both Conte and Jose are known for their tactical acumen, and they used different systems to achieve their respective title wins.

Jose’s game plan, especially in the big games, was to keep it tight and stable, thus allowing the excellent Eden Hazard and the ruthless Diego Costa to grab goals and then contain the opposition. This was particularly the case after their 5-3 defeat to Tottenham on New Year’s Day; they showed their mental strength and tactical nous in becoming a little less free flowing and only lost one more match for the rest of the season.

Conte’s style was broadly similar; he also made a tactical switch after a tough defeat – his was against another North London outfit, Arsenal. Chelsea embodied their manager’s intense fighting spirit after that loss switching to a more robust 3-4-3, they went on a thirteen game winning run and never looked back.

Both managers then deserve credit for injecting their sides with a strong winning mentality and creating game plans that got the best out of them. Conte: 5, Mourinho: 5

Entertainment

‘Boring, boring Chelsea’ became the refrain as Chelsea marched to the title under Mourinho. After the defeat to Tottenham, they began to suffocate games more. There were, however, notable and exciting wins under Jose including a 6-3 against Everton, a 5-0 win over Swansea and a 3-0 against Spurs. While they were hardly 1970’s Brazil, they did entertain their fans over the course of the season.

Again, Conte’s side was similar in this regard, on their day they could rip teams to shreds, recording a 4-0 win against Manchester United and a 5-0 victory against Everton.

With Kante in the side, Hazard has been freed from defensive duties and has been by far one of the league’s most exciting players.

Once again, its razor thin but Conte just edges it, his side’s fluid 3-4-3 has made the front three a joy to watch, they have also scored more, won more and conceded fewer goals than Jose’s men. Conte: 4, Mourinho: 3.5.

Conclusion

So there you have it, our wholly unscientific method shows that it is a draw with both getting 16.5! Both teams were excellent in slightly different ways, and both will be remembered for years to come.

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