Even though Chelsea were returning from a two-month absence, the major talking point on Saturday was the confirmation of N'Golo Kanté's arrival at the club from Premier League champions Leicester City. It was the first question asked at the post-match press conference and it remained a topic of constant discussion. Conte himself had to take the initiate to actually talk a bit about that match itself.
Of course when Chelsea pull off such an unlikely success, convincing a player wanted by some of the best and biggest team in Europe to ditch the Champions League for a mid-table team, people will talk. The manager joined Chelsea fans in lauding our latest signing, highlighting the 25-year-old's abilities and the club's efforts in improving the squad during the transfer window.
"Kanté was a target and for this reason I am very very happy that the club bought this player. He's a good player, good technique, fantastic stamina and I like this type of player. I think when you want to win you need this player, like Kanté, like Matic, who works hard for the team."
"I am very happy because together with the club we are working to improve the squad. We know we have to improve but we prefer to wait than to go for a player that doesn't adapt to our idea of football."
With Kanté now in the fold, there's the question of how the player will fit within our plans. Conte unsurprisingly sees him as a vital part of the team, especially in a tactical scheme with two central midfielders.
"We identified [Kanté] -- me and the club together. I think that he can give a lot to Chelsea to enforce and so on. He's very important for us if we want to play with two central midfielders. He showed in last season he is able to play with another midfield. Also, I think with this player we reinforce our squad."
-Antonio Conte; Source: ESPN
Today Chelsea lined up in the familiar 4-2-3-1 shape, but reports claim that Conte is looking to use a 4-4-2/4-2-4 scheme instead, which we eventually shifted to towards the end of the match as Chelsea looked for a consolation goal. The compliments of Matic could indicate that he would be the preferred partner to Kanté, as the Serbian has good passing skills and vision of the game whilst still being an imposing defensive presence in the midfield.
In any case, it is too early to draw any conclusions. Other key players like Cesc Fàbregas haven't even returned yet and we might be looking at further key signings, too. Until then, we're free to confabulate.