Chelsea Football Club creeping under the radar once again?
Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea! The Stamford Bridge terrace sung, as Antonio Conte guided the Blues to the 2016/17 Premier League title in his debut season. The tactful Italian played it out perfectly with his 3-5-2 formation. David Luiz had a stellar campaign, as did new-signing Marcos Alonso. Who can forget about the scintillating Eden Hazard? While Diego Costa continued to bully defenders into submission.
It was a season that Chelsea faithful will always remember. However, at the time, they weren't favourite to take the title; that was until a few months into the campaign, when they emerged as the clear front-runners.
In the early-going, the two Manchester clubs took all the attention. Everyone thought it'd be Jose Mourinho against Pep Guardiola; the renewal of a footballing rivalry that fiercely played out in Spain. Both Red and Blue struggled to acquit themselves. Conte swooped in, taking the title away from Leicester City rather comfortably.
Fast-forward two seasons. Conte's countryman, Maurizio Sarri, is now at the helm. Chelsea sit joint-top four games in, on a maximum twelve points. All the attention? Heading in defending champions Manchester City's way, while the team-of-the-moment Liverpool are creating headlines thanks to possessing the ability to outscore practically everyone.
Once again, all the attention is away from West London. Chelsea, fronted by their new boss, will be loving that underdog mentality. It allows them to focus solely on playing football rather than having to deal with undivided media attention. Sure, they may do it in a completely different style, but you have to say it's impressive nonetheless...
Ten goals scored, just three conceded, Chelsea, are once again doing what has become customary. They do what they take to win, playing the situation probably better than any other team in the country. Sarri doesn't care about beating teams 4 and 5-0. As long as those all-important three points are on the board, then it's job done. That mantra has stemmed throughout the club ever since Jose Mourinho's first stint in charge almost fifteen years ago. Who can argue against it? They've won five Premier League titles in that time.
Efficiency. That's the best describing word to talk about Chelsea. Star man Hazard tends to come up trumps when it matters most. Be it from a strike of genius or a cool-as-you-like spot-kick, the brilliant Belgian is forever dependable. He's still at the club, Sarri did well to keep a tight grip. The 27-year-old has started this campaign in immaculate fashion. Once again, his talent holds the key to any potential success.
Perhaps the most underrated transfer made by an English club this term is Jorginho. The Italian, like his new club, has slipped under the radar. Everyone was preoccupied with the stunning signings Wolves were making, while Pep Guardiola added Riyad Mahrez to an already potent attack, Jurgen Klopp chose to strengthen heavily in the midfield with the Fabinho and Naby Keita signings. I'd even argue that Kepa Arrizabalaga's move to Stamford Bridge made more headlines that Sarri bringing the Napoli midfielder with him to England...
I guess what I'm trying to say is Chelsea are in with a real shot this year. They've made signings that covered up their problems from last term. Perhaps my only concern would be the striker position. However, if Alvaro Morata finds his shooting-boots sooner rather than later, the Premier League could be in trouble. This is a squad filled with winners. They know what it takes to be the top-dog after 38 gruelling Premier League games. Don't bet against Chelsea doing similar this time around - you have been duly warned.