Chelsea have passed their toughest test of the season with flying colours last weekend, as the Blues managed to mount a 3-1 comeback win against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. However, the season is far from over and the Blues are now set to face a rather annoying side in West Bromwich this Sunday, and look to stay on the winning track that's been set since October.
Currently topping the Premier League with 34 points from 14 matches, Chelsea have announced themselves as one of this season's Premier League title contenders. Antonio Conte remains skeptical though, as he still think it's too early for any such talk.
Antonio Conte says it is difficult to accept Chelsea are title favourities as there is more than half the season to play. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016
For Chelsea to keep ahead in the title chase, we need to continue taking the most out of every match, no matter how big the opponent. Something the Italian boss is more than eager to point out.
Conte emphasises how important it is that his players do not lose their hunger. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016
One of the key players in Chelsea's rise back to the top ranks has been striker Diego Costa. The Brazilian-Spaniard currently leads the Premier League goalscoring charts with 11 goals, as well as 5 assists in 14 matches, averaging 77 minutes per goal or assist in the competition this season. Conte praised Diego for his performances on the pitch, as he leads the team by example.
Conte says Diego Costa is playing good football and is very focused in every moment of the game, which he asks of all his players. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016
Another player who made had a game-deciding impact against Manchester City was surprise starter Cesc Fàbregas who might have more minutes to play in the future as the schedule gets busier. That said, Conte is playing this one pretty close to the chest, mostly just reiterating things he's said before.
Conte says he is thinking game by game for now rather than planning rotation over the Christmas fixtures. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016
Conte confirms yet again that Fabregas is an important member of his squad and he wants him to stay here. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016
Conte has not yet made up his mind who will play in midfield on Sunday out of Kante, Matic, Fabregas and Chalobah. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016
Meanwhile, there's the issue of Mikel John Obi. The Chelsea legend has yet to make a single appearance for the club under Conte's command, and many reports in the media claim that he is on his way out of Stamford Bridge in January. Conte didn't exactly reveal anything earth-shattering in this regard either.
Conte says Mikel is in his squad now. At the end of this season his contract will expire but it is not right to talk now beyond that. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016
In the last four years, Chelsea have only managed to win 3 matches out of 9 against West Brom. Last season, the Blues earned a narrow 3-2 win at the Hawthorns, but had to endure a mostly bittersweet 2-2 draw against the Baggies at home.
Although the players have fared well in training this week according to Conte, he expects them to approach this weekend's game the same way they did with the previous ones in our current unbeaten run.
Conte adds that his players have trained well and he is anticipating a good performance against West Brom. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016
Conte says Sunday will be difficult if the team do not approach the game in the same way as the recent wins. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 9 December 2016