Antonio Conte’s Chelsea continue their journey to the Premier league glory. The Blues are well-placed at the first place in the table with 7 points of advantage from their nearest rivals Tottenham and Liverpool. With 17 weeks still to go, we already have reasons to start discussions about the competition in the league. Do Chelsea have any real rivals to challenge their leadership, are there any factors that can prevent them from winning the 5th Premier league title in their history.
Despite being top of the table, Chelsea are yet to meet their main rivals in the league. In the coming week, they will face tournament underdogs Hull City and will probably grab three points, though their next matches will present some major headache to Antonio Conte.
First, Chelsea will have to visit Liverpool which are believed to be the main favorite to fight for the title with the London-based side. Jürgen Klopp’s men fought it till the end with Manchester United recently, conceding the equalizer only in the ending of the match. Moreover, having Philippe Coutinho back from the injury, Liverpool will receive a huge boost to their title hopes. The Reds will surely make it hard for Chelsea to take points from Anfield.
The situation will get more difficult for Conte and his men days later when they host city rivals Arsenal. Wenger’s side are fourth in the league and are only one point behind Liverpool and Tottenham. The positive result against leaders could see them back to the title race which is a big temptation and motivation.
And finally, Chelsea will have to face two Manchester sides in April. First, they will host Pep Guardiola’s City side on April 5, and then will visit Old Trafford 10 days later. These are too difficult exams for Hazard and Co., and if they don’t lose too many points in these 4 games, their title dreams will become reality.
Concluding, we can say that nothing is decided yet and Chelsea will have to run their engine with the full power to reach the finish in the first place.
Another problem for the London-based club is Diego Costa and his financial demands. The Spaniard has received a huge offer from Chinese Super League and is considering a move to the destination where Oscar moved weeks earlier. Being Chelsea’s top scorer and leading goalscorer in the league, Costa becomes another headache for Conte. It’s already reported that the duo had a major conflict during one of the training sessions and as a result, Diego was left out of Chelsea squad against Leicester.
Costa went on to provoke Chelsea and ask a salary rise. It’s believed, that his representatives have already presented their demands to Roman Abramovich. Costa wants to earn 300.000 pounds per week which is twice as much as his current wage. It’s true, that Chelsea can satisfy these demands and forget about the danger of losing their top man to China, but this kind of atmosphere inside the team may be harming the team overall. We all know that the biggest problems have always started from minor issues that weren’t handled successfully.
Summing up, we see that Chelsea will have to solve a difficult puzzle in their pursuit of happiness. They are still the favorites to win the trophy, no one can doubt it, but Premier League is full of surprises. We just have to wait and see how Antonio Conte will handle the situation. If he finds the exit from the maze, we will see John Terry lifting the EPL cup in May.