Antonio Conte may have changed a fair bit of the culture at Chelsea in just a few short months, but one thing that he’s brought back rather than created anew is the habit of winning at home. Fortress Stamford Bridge is back in full effect this season, with Chelsea winning 14 of 15 games at home in all competitions. The only blip was the 2-1 reverse to Liverpool, which in part prompted the tactical revolution of the 3-4-3.
This home record stands in stark contrast with last season, when Mourinho and Hiddink combined for just 10 wins out of 25 home games in all competitions, and just 5 wins out of 19 home games in the Premier League. Those are truly appalling numbers, even if we don’t consider how famously good Mourinho and Chelsea used to be at the Bridge — from 2004 to 2008, the Blues went 86 league games without a loss at home. 86!
We have a long ways to go to match that, but we’re off to good start under Conte. It’s a feeling that isn’t lost on the players either, including Eden Hazard, who recently also proclaimed that this is his “best moment” at the club since he’s been here and that he’s very happy with how things are going.
“Yes, it’s significant. It’s difficult for the opponent to come here and win games. Do I get that feeling that some teams are beaten before kick-off? Yes. We are playing better than last season.”
“It’s a little like two years ago when we won the League. I remember the second part of the season back then: sometimes the team didn’t play well, but we always scored at least one goal and Thibaut Courtois would make at least one good save, like against Arsenal.”
Chelsea went unbeaten at home in the league in 2014-15, winning 15 of 19 and conceding just 9 goals. Courtois & Co have conceded 7 so far this season, with 7 more home matches to play, though just one against top six opposition.
“It’s great and we feel very good on this pitch. We know everything can happen in football, but we have self-belief and that is very important in football.”
“We know if we want to be champions, in our home stadium we have to win most of our games. We can’t say all 19 because we have already lost to Liverpool, but we have to win 16 to 17 because it’s our place. We are ready to deliver.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Evening Standard
For Conte, this is nothing new. In his three seasons with Juventus, he lost just three times in 76 home matches.
@ConteShagsNans Antonio Conte's home record for Juventus across all competitions:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 13, 2016
40 clean sheets