Are Chelsea On Track To Be Champions Again?

One of the biggest surprises in the Premier League this year has been the performance of Chelsea.

The Blues doing well is hardly big news in itself, but just how well the club is doing is a bit surprising considering that this is largely the same squad that limped to a lacklustre 10th place finish during the 2015-16 season.

That disappointing finish led to the sacking of Jose Mourinho as “the special one” found himself replaced by former Italy and Juventus boss Antonio Conte.

Conte has managed to take the squad that failed Mourinho and prove to everyone the squad is, in fact, one of the best in England.

The club made a few signings during the offseason, notably luring French midfielder N’Golo Kante away from Leicester City and bringing back defender David Luiz from Paris St. Germain, but otherwise, this is pretty much the same team as last year.

They’re just playing much better football. It’s no secret that there was a fair degree of contention between the Chelsea players and Mourinho, but now that the team is out from under the yoke of the notoriously difficult manager many of the stars have been able to flourish once more.

This has included remarkable improvements by midfielders Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard, but the most significant turnaround in form has been that of infamous forward Diego Costa.

Around this time last year, many were calling for the team to sell Diego Costa back to Atlético Madrid but you can bet they’re glad they held onto the striker.

As of this writing, Costa is the top scorer in the Premier League and just reached the 50-goal milestone with Chelsea.

What’s more, Costa attained this impressive mark in a mere 97 games with the Blues! To put that in perspective, it took Chelsea legend Didier Drogba 112 games to achieve the same feat. Costa is once again living up to the lofty expectations of the fans at Stamford Bridge and has proved that he’s one of the most dangerous and dynamic goal-scorers in Europe.

In addition to the renewed energy of their biggest stars, part of Chelsea’s success could be the missing distraction of European football.

In a way, last year’s finish could end up being a blessing in disguise, as this season’s squad has been able to enjoy more rest and fewer injuries than the other competitors for the top slots.

This could prove to be important as the season rolls on and the continued play of the long season begins to take its toll on the players.

Chelsea has won 11 straight games and sits in first place, seven points clear of Manchester City. All told, Conte has managed to turn the team around and it’s looking extremely likely that Chelsea will contend for a fifth Premier League title.

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