In today’s match against Newcastle United, many expected Chelsea to jump on the visitors early and establish the tone for the game, but instead it was the Magpies who got the early upper hand, as the Blues started slowly and eventually conceded a scrappy Dwight Gayle goal in the 12th minute.
Antonio Conte, as we’ve come to realise, is as much about the reaction as the actual start itself, and took to the post-match press conference to explain how pleased he was by the reaction of his charges.
Conte is happy: "We started the game a little bit slow but when we went 1-0 down we started to play with intensity and created good chances to score. I am happy with all my players, another good reaction. It is not simple to go 1-0 and have the right will to win" #CHENEW #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) December 2, 2017
A good part of that desirable reaction from Chelsea was thanks to Eden Hazard. The little Belgian wizard put on another supreme display of attacking creativity and finesse, which Conte was hardly alone in praising effusively.
Conte on Hazard: "He played a really good game. I think he enjoyed a lot to play this type of football. Eden, for us, is a really important player with him we can change our system." #CHENEW— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) December 2, 2017
Speaking of Hazard, he joined some pretty impressive company today, drawing level with Gianfranco Zola on 80 goals for the club. So much talent!
Danny Drinkwater was a bit of a surprise starter today, picked to partner Fàbregas and Kanté in midfield with Tiemoué Bakayoko relegated to the bench. Conte had some nice things to say about H2O as well after the game.
Conte on Drinkwater: "I think he started the game like the team, then he improved. It is great for us to have another option, especially when we play with three midfielders. It is of vital importance" #CHENEW #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) December 2, 2017
So that’s three more points and the star man continuing to be in good form. Things look pretty good for Chelsea Football Club right now.
“[Eden] played a really good game. I think he enjoyed playing this type of football. Eden for us is an important player because with him we can change our system, he can play as a second striker or a number 10 when we play 3-4-3. Eden and Alvaro showed a great link today, I saw a lot of good combination play. I’m happy but in this league there is a team doing extraordinary things, Man City. At the same time it’s important to look at ourselves and go step by step.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea played first of the top six; great way to begin the weekend!