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    Are Chelsea a contender for the league after their dismal performance last season?

    Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions oin the 2014/15 season, claiming the title in effortless fashion, but a year later saw underdog team, Leicester City who were tipped for relagation and had a 5000/1 chance of winning, do the unthinkable as they were crowned the sixth club to win the prestigious trophy, joining the list of the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers. Chelsea  finished 9th the following season after they won the league which made everyone question including myself, (a Chelsea fan), as to what had gone wrong and how it was possible that they had gone from league champions to finishing 9th place just months later with the exact same team.

    The 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season saw Chelsea sail to the title in an easy fashion, eight points clear of second place Manchester City, while also conceding the least amount of goals (32) in the league, proving that they were a dominant force not only in England, but in Europe, however shortly after, their next Premier League campaign turned into a car crash.

    In terms of what went wrong, it was almost everything. Not only were there problems on the pitch with the players dramatically under performing, mainly Eden Hazard, who's performances up until the last month were just unacceptable for a player who had been one of the best in Europe just a year earlier, claiming PFA and Football Writers awards and was the stand out player and vital to Chelsea winning the league as he had the most dribbles completed during the season (180), while also gaining 14 goals and 9 assists along the way, but there were also negative ongoing off the pitch from the first day when Eva Carneiro ran on to the pitch to treat hazard and was later sacked by Mourinho as he publicly criticised Dr Carneiro "impulsive and naive". The season just lurched from one crisis to another with the then sacking of Mourinho and the new appointment of former Chelsea boss Guss Hiddink who came in and steadied the ship but Chelsea were no where near where they should have been.

    Fast forward to this season and Chelsea have appointed top manager Antonio Conte, famously known for managing both the Italian national team and Italian Giants Juventus. As a player he won the Champions League and 5 Serie A titles. He won 20 caps for Italy over a 16 year period from 1994 to 2000 and as a manager he won the Serie A title three times and the Italian super cup twice. The appointment of Conte will bring hope and excitement to Chelsea fans as they made two big summer signings such as Michy Batshuayi for £33m and N'golo Kante for £32m respectively. Nogolo Kante will please many Chelsea fans as Kante was a star performer for Lecister last season helping them claim the title and was arguably, in many people's eyes, the player of the season.

    It would be controversial whether football fans would think Chelsea will get in the top 4 this season, never mind winning the league, as teams such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United have all strengthened, mainly Unied, bringing in the likes of Ibrahimovic, Bundesliga player of the year Henrikh Mkhitaran, and Paul Pogba for a world record fee of £89m, however the introduction of the 3-4-3 formation by Conte has worked wonders as so far as Chelsea have had 7 straight wins with no goals conceded, sitting at the top of the Premier League after 13 games with 31 points.

    The premier league is the most unpredictable and exciting league there is, as anything can happen and anyone can win, as you only have to look at last season to prove my point. Although Manchester City and Manchester United were arguably favourites for the league at the start of the season, you can never count Chelsea out and Conte could bring the league back home after their blip last season, and after sitting on top of the league after 12 games, are Chelsea the new favourites for the prestigious trophy?

    Michael Sampey
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    Item Reviewed: Are Chelsea a contender for the league after their dismal performance last season? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Michael Sampey
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