Premier League Preview and Prediction: Middlesbrough vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Everton

Venue: Riverside Stadium – Sunday, November 20 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Middlesbrough 5/1 – Draw 29/10 – Chelsea 4/7 

Match Preview

Middlesbrough welcome Chelsea to the Riverside Stadium on Sunday afternoon in what has the makings of a game that could throw up a surprise result.

Before the international break, Boro had been enjoying a solid run of form, picking up six points from five games, including impressive draws against Arsenal and City.

Aitor Karanka knows his side have the capability of upsetting anyone this season. Middlesbrough are sitting 15th in the Premier League and are giving a good account of themselves on their return to the top flight.

Worryingly for Boro, they have not managed a positive result against Chelsea in their last six attempts, losing all of those games, what a time this would be to bring that run to an end.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea were flying as they headed into the international break. Antonio Conte has seen his side win every league game (5) since switching to 3-4-3. Their 5-0 demolition of Everton last time out sent out a message to the rest of the title chasing sides.

The Blues haven’t conceded in those fives games and are now sitting second in the league. They will be seeing this as an opportunity to make it six wins in a row.

If history is anything to go by, this should be a routine win for Chelsea, not only have they won their last six in a row against Middlesbrough, they have also kept a clean sheet in all of those games.

The Chelsea squad has been hit by a few injuries in the last few weeks, which only heightens the importance of depth, something they have in abundance.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Middlesbrough could be without three for the visit of Chelsea as James Husband, George Friend and Daniel Ayala are all doubts.

Chelsea’s main concern will be over the fitness of their two most important players this season, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, who both returned from the international carrying knocks. Conte will still be expecting to be without Kurt Zouma, Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Key Points

Middlesbrough’s last five: D/L/D/W/D

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have won their last six games against Middlesbrough in all competitions.

Key Player: Pedro – The Chelsea winger has been completely revitalised under Conte. He is playing with the confidence that resulted in his move to the West Londoners. Pedro’s energy and ability to provide both goals and assists has caused trouble for opposition defenders this season and he will be looking to play a key role this weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea – Boro to come unstuck against a Chelsea side who are expected to take all three points here. The Blues have shown a real togetherness under Conte and are relishing playing in the 3-4-3. Middlesbrough will be able to cause Chelsea problems, but given their defensive strength and energy in the side, they’d be forgiven for falling short here.

Advertisements

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Everton

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Everton

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, November 5 – 17:30 GMT (13:30 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 8/15 – Draw 16/5 – Everton 19/4 

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening in a fixture that has produced some classic matches full of goals in recent times.

Antonio Conte’s side continued their winning streak last weekend with their 2-0 victory over Southampton, it was their fourth consecutive Premier League win without conceding a goal.

If history is anything to go by we could be in for plenty of action in this one as there have been 23 goals in the last six meetings between the sides in all competitions.

Chelsea will want to go into the international break preserving their defensive record and will see this as a chance to increase their winning run to five games.

Embed from Getty Images

Everton ended their four-game winless run with their 2-0 victory over West Ham last time out, but they know they have a tough game on their hands here.

Ronald Koeman’s side trail Chelsea by just four points heading into this one. They have had a strong opening ten games (W5-D3-L2) and look capable of pushing for the top six this season.

Everton have struggled for positive results at Stamford Bridge, they have failed to win away against Chelsea in their last 22 attempts. This would be an ideal time to put that unwanted run to an end.

The Toffees can take heart in the fact that they have scored at least twice in their last three matches against Chelsea. If they can breach the three-man backline they will be within a great chance of picking up a favourable result.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Conte is likely to be without four players through injury as Cesc Fabregas, John Obi Mikel, Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel remain in their recovery period.

Everton’s injury list seems to continue to worsen as Leighton Baines, Arouna Kone, Muhamed Besic, Tyias Browning, James McCarthy and Matthew Pennington are all expected to remain out. Idrissa Gueye is serving his one-game suspension.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Everton’s last five: L/D/D/L/W

Key Stat: Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 22 home games against Everton in all competitions.

Key Player: David Luiz – Much was made of Chelsea resigning Luiz. The Brazilian has played an integral role since Chelsea switched to 3-4-3 and looks a far more mature player since returning to the club. The fan-favourite is showing both leadership qualities and passion that Chelsea lacked last season.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-0 Everton – The Blues have been on an incredible run of form in the Premier League. They have looked far more resilient defensively and have the ability to make it five clean sheets in a row this weekend.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Chelsea

Competition: Major League Soccer – Southampton vs. Chelsea

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, October 30 – 16:00 GMT (12:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Southampton 19/10 – Draw 12/5 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Southampton welcome Chelsea to St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a tie that has the makings of a classic, with both sides looking for three more points as they continue strong starts to the season.

The Saints are in a great run of form, unbeaten in five and are working their way up the Premier League table. Southampton come into this one having progressed in the League Cup in midweek. They drew their last league outing 1-1 away against City in what was an impressive display.

Claude Puel will be pleased with how has side are developing in the early stages of this season and will know they can cause any opponent trouble at home.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea were knocked out of the League Cup midweek and will be looking to bounce back here. They demolished United 4-0 last weekend in what was easily their best performance of the season so far.

Antonio Conte is generally pleased with how his side have been playing in the league of late. He switched to 3-4-3 and has seen Chelsea win three on the bounce in the league since doing so.

The Blues are up to 4th, just one point off the top and back in familiar territory in stark comparison to last season. Chelsea need to ensure they pick up maximum points from their next three games before they face some other title contenders in back-to-back fixtures next month.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Southampton are expected to be without Matt Target, Jay Rodriguez, Shane Long and Jeremy Pied for the visit of Chelsea here. Sofiane Boufal may keep his place in the side after scoring a fine goal in the League Cup against Sunderland on Wednesday.

Chelsea don’t have a huge injury list but are still expected to be without Cesc Fabregas, while Kurt Zouma, Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel are still unlikely to be named in the squad despite progression in their fitness.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: W/W/D/W/D

Chelsea’s last five: L/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Southampton are unbeaten in their last nine home Premier League games.

Key Player: N’Golo Kante – The Chelsea midfielder completely dominated the middle of the park against United last Sunday and continually moved the ball to his attacking teammates. If he plays like that again this weekend, Chelsea have a great chance of winning what is a tricky away fixture.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Southampton 1-1 Chelsea – St Mary’s is never an easy place to visit and Southampton will be feeling confident of getting another positive home result against a strong side. Chelsea’s momentum was rocked slightly in midweek and they will be eager to avoid defeat here.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Sunday, October 23 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 23/20 – Draw 9/4 – Man Utd 5/2 

Match Preview

Chelsea take on Manchester United and welcome back Jose Mourinho on Sunday in what is set to be arguably their biggest game of the season so far.

The Blues have been inconsistent over their last five games. They’ve only picked up seven points from a possible 15, but have won their last two.

Antonio Conte was pleased with Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Leicester last weekend. He has seen his side put in some strong performances since opting for a formation change to his more familiar 3-5-2.

This is going to be a huge occasion for Chelsea fans and a number of players who won the league with Mourinho just two seasons ago. He should receive a warm reception but he will quickly be reminded that he is ‘the enemy’ once the game kicks off.

Embed from Getty Images

Manchester United have been in a poor run of form domestically, picking up just five points from the last 15 on offer.

Mourinho tightened things up defensively against Liverpool in their last Premier League game, but allowed his side to play with more freedom in their Europa League demolition in midweek. Paul Pogba starred in that game, scoring twice. He will be looking to continue to prove doubters wrong here.

The emotions will be high for Mourinho on his second return as an opposition manager to Stamford Bridge, much of the build up has focused on him as United manager, which may well help to keep a little pressure off some of his underperforming stars.

Manchester United will be looking to put an end to an unwanted run of ten without a win against Chelsea in all compeitions. Mourinho won his only other visit to the Bridge as an opposition manager and he will be desperate to win here.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Chelsea will still be without Kurt Zouma as he continues his recovery from a long term knee injury. John Terry has been declared fit by Conte. Oscar, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas and John Obi Mikel were all unavailable for selection last weekend, they remain doubts. It remains to be seen whether Willian will return from compassionate leave.

Manchester United could be without Chris Smalling as he came off in their midweek Europa League with a muscle injury. Phil Jones remains out, while Morgan Schneiderlin is a doubt.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: D/L/L/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: L/L/W/D/D

Key Stat: Chelsea are unbeaten against Manchester United in their last ten meetings in all competitions.

Key Player: Diego Costa – Chelsea’s goal-machine and talisman will be itching to keep his goalscoring run going this weekend. Costa is the Premier League’s top scorer with seven.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United – There have been four draws in the last five meetings between these two sides. Chelsea have struggled against the so-called ‘top sides’ this season and will be desperate to extend their unbeaten run to three. Manchester United to draw their third on the bounce, but importantly avoid defeat away from home in a difficult fixture.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea FC vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, October 15 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/7 – Draw 16/5 – Leicester 9/2

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome champions Leicester to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the opening game of the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

The Blues are clearly still in a rebuilding phase after last season. They have looked inconsistent and vulnerable in a number of games already.

Antonio Conte’s side won 2-0 away at Hull in their last Premier League outing, three points they desperately needed, having lost their previous two games.

Chelsea are already a way off the pace in the title race. They’re sitting 7th, five points off the top and three outside of the top four.

Embed from Getty Images

Leicester City are also in a run of unfavourable form. They have won just two of their seven games this season and are just four points above the relegation zone.

The Foxes have struggled against the so-called ‘big sides’ this season and have failed to pick up points in games they seemed to breeze through in their title-winning campaign.

Claudio Ranieri’s side come into this one having drawn 0-0 against Southampton. Although Leicester are performing well in the Champions League, they are struggling to relay that form domestically.

Leicester have to see this as a tie they can pick up a positive result in. Chelsea conceded twice in their last league game at Stamford Bridge and have looked shaky defensively.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Chelsea are expected to be handed a defensive boost with the return of their captain John Terry. Kurt Zouma and John Obi Mikel are both expected to be out, while Victor Moses is a doubt. Willian is unavailable for selection due the passing of his mother this week.

Leicester City’s squad is in good shape for this tie. They are only expecting to be without Matthew James, so Claudio Ranieri has the luxury of a strong bench regardless of what starting XI he selects.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Leicester’s last five: W/L/W/L/D

Key Stat: These two sides have been inconsistent in their last five games, picking up the same amount of points (7).

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Premier League’s leading goal scorer this season has been in fine form. Costa has netted six times

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester – Chelsea to come unstuck at home once again. They are looking far better than last season but defensive problems are there for all to see. Leicester need to begin picking up points to avoid being drawn into a rut of form. This would be a good result for Ranieri’s side, who posses the ability to damage Chelsea on the counter attack.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Chelsea

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Saturday, September 24 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 13/10 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 19/10

Match Preview

Arsenal welcome their London rivals Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening in the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend.

Arsenal seem to have got over their slow start in their opening two games and have now won three league games on the bounce.

The Gunners come into this one level on points with Chelsea, but are ahead in table on goal difference, they will be keen to continue their winning run here.

Arsenal advanced in the EFL Cup in midweek with a convincing win 4-0 win and they won 4-1 against Hull last weekend, so confidence is high among Arsene Wenger’s men.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea bounced back from their defeat against Liverpool last weekend with a 4-2 over Leicester in the EFL Cup in midweek.

It looked like Antonio Conte’s side were going to lose their second on the bounce before really turning on the style in midweek, with practically every attack coming through Cesc Fabregas.

Chelsea haven’t won in two in the league and, like Arsenal, are already five points off the top. This is a must win game for both sides.

The Blues haven’t lost in their last nine Premier League games against Arsenal and haven’t even conceded in the last six of those. This is going to be a tough tie and that run of clean sheets against their rivals looks likely to come to an end here considering how easily their defence has been breached this season.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Arsenal’s season is already being troubled by injuries, an all too familiar story for their fans. Olivier Giroud, Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey, Carl Jenkinson, and Gabriel Paulista are all expected to miss out here.

Chelsea are still expecting to be without Kurt Zouma, while there is still no word on a return date for captain John Terry.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: L/D/W/W/W

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/D/L

Key Stat: Chelsea haven’t conceded a goal against Arsenal in the last six Premier League meetings between the sides.

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Chelsea forward has already bagged five goals this season. He has previous with Arsenal and isn’t popular among their fans. He is Chelsea’s best chance of coming away with all three points in this one.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea – Arsenal to bring their winless and goalless run against Chelsea to an end here. The Gunners are in fine form now, while Chelsea are still struggling defensively. Like the majority of games from this fixture down the years, we can expect action and controversy all the while Diego Costa is on the field.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Friday, September 16 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 5/4 – Draw 5/2 – Liverpool 2/1

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Friday night in a game that is one you usually do not want to miss.

Chelsea come into this one having drawn in their controversial game against Swansea. Regardless of what happened in that tie, Chelsea should not have allowed their opponents back into the game.

Despite drawing 2-2, there were a lot of positives for Chelsea. They created a huge amount of chances and a number of their players are relishing life under Antonio Conte.

This is arguably Chelsea’s toughest tie of the season so far and they are welcoming a Liverpool side who have been scoring freely.

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool come into this one having demolished Leicester 4-1 last weekend. Jurgen Klopp’s side looked dangerous in the final third but conceded through a shocking defensive error.

Although Liverpool have scored nine goals in the Premier League this season, they have conceded seven. This will be a concern for Klopp as they face a Chelsea side who have averaged at least two goals a game in their opening four league games.

Liverpool won their last Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge but know they are facing a very different Chelsea side this time around.

This game has the makings of a cracker. In their eight matches combined this season, Liverpool and Chelsea have overseen 29 goals scored/conceded.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Chelsea have two injury concerns heading into this tie. Kurt Zouma remains out and captain John Terry is unavailable after rolling his ankle late on against Swansea, which is a huge blow for Chelsea. David Luiz is in line to make his second Chelsea debut in Terry’s absence.

Liverpool are expected to be without Emre Can, while Mamadou Sakho and Joseph Gomez are both doubts.

Key Points

Chelsea’s form: W/W/W/D

Liverpool’s form: W/L/D/W

Key Stat: Home form – Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 games at Stamford Bridge.

Key Player: Diego Costa – The controversial Spaniard has netted in every game in the Premier League so far this season. He looks to be at his confident best and he’ll be looking to cause havoc to a Liverpool defence that has looked suspect at times in their opening four league games.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool – Both of these sides have been playing in incredibly intense, end-to-end games this season and at some point the pace is bound to drop slightly. Chelsea could well have a slightly more cautious approach considering how their second half unfolded against Swansea, while Liverpool will not want to give Chelsea as many opportunities as they have to opponents so far this season.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Swansea City vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Swansea City vs. Chelsea

Venue: Liberty Stadium – Sunday, September 11 – 16:00 BST (09:00 ET)

Match Odds: Swansea City 4/1 – Draw 29/10 – Chelsea 4/6

Match Preview

Swansea City welcome Chelsea to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the penultimate game of the Premier League weekend.

The Swans have lost their last two and will be low on confidence coming into this tie. They started the season with a win but fell to a 2-1 defeat against Leicester in their last outing.

Francesco Guidolin will be looking for his side to frustrate Chelsea in this one. This is going to be a tough tie for Swansea and they will have to pick their moments right against a Chelsea side who have started the season well.

The last meeting between these two at the Liberty ended with a 1-0 win for Swansea, they will hope for a similar performance but this is a different Chelsea side to that of last season.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea have picked up maximum points from their opening three games and will be feeling confident of making it four wins from four here.

Antonio Conte will be pleased with how his side have adapted to his tactics and it is clear to see his passion is rubbing off on the side.

Chelsea’s key players have stepped back up to the levels they were showing before their nightmare season last time around and they will be looking to continue to send out a message to the rest of the league this weekend.

So long as Chelsea remain focused and perform how they have in their previous three games a win should be within their grasp here, but they cannot take anything for granted and know they will be in for a tricky afternoon.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Borja Baston is the only player Swansea are expecting to be without in this tie.

Kurt Zouma remains Chelsea’s only player out through injury ahead of this one. Conte now has the option of whether or not to start new signings David Luiz and Marcos Alonso, to see both start would be a surprise considering they have had limited training sessions alongside the full squad.

Key Points

Swansea City’s form: W/L/L

Chelsea’s form: W/W/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have scored at least two goals in each of their three games in the Premier League so far this season, compared to Swansea’s two goals overall.

Key Player: Eden Hazard – The Chelsea star is looking like he is hitting the form he is known for, when he’s in the mood he’s near impossible to stop

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Swansea City 0-2 Chelsea – Chelsea to continue their run of form and consistency of scoring at least two goals. This could be a long afternoon for Swansea if Chelsea perform like their fans know they can.

Will this be Conte’s best Chelsea lineup this season?

Chelsea left it late again to take all three points at the weekend in a performance that showed they lacked creativity in the final third and weaknesses in defence. While Antonio Conte’s men have got six points from a possible six, they are yet to show any real cutting edge, but as we know, winning games in the style they have is exactly what potential champions do.

While their early form doesn’t suggest Chelsea will win the title this season, they are already grinding out results when needing to. If they can improve performances they will be in a great position to challenge for silverware this term.

It’s obvious there is still work to be done at Chelsea for them to improve. Conte has made it clear he wants another defender and rightly so, as there have been the same defensive issues troubling them in the early stages of this season that were apparent throughout the disappointing 2015/16 campaign.

Conte has been making game-changing substitutions that have without question won Chelsea both of their matches so far. So let’s have a look at their potential best starting lineup and how a formation change could be needed to improve their performances from here on out.

Potential starting XI via lineupbuilder.com

Potential starting XI via lineupbuilder.com

As we can see above, the 4-1-3-2 is a less common formation but something that has a lot of potential to work for Chelsea. Regardless of who has been in charge at the club, 4-2-3-1 has been the preferred Chelsea formation, but it has become predictable and is showing signs of weakness.

The 4-1-3-2 formation allows a completely different dynamic to the setup. While the apparent strength of attacking wingers – who both play high up the pitch and drop in for defensive play – is still a key theme, the option of two strikers will provide a headache for opposition defenders.

Forward play:

Michy Batshuayi has to be starting alongside Diego Costa. The two have played less than a half of football together this season and already appear to have a telepathic relationship brewing. Batshuayi’s knockdown to Costa allowed the Spaniard to net the winner in their opening game against West Ham and both strikers were on the scoresheet at the weekend, with the goals finally coming while they were both on the pitch.

Having a striker next to him affords Costa more room to manoeuvre, get in behind and go unnoticed as he is not up against both centre-backs at the same time.

Embed from Getty Images

In the middle: 

Chelsea lacked creativity throughout their game against Watford at the weekend and it was only when Cesc Fabregas came on that they looked threatening. Fabregas creates so much room for his teammates both on and off the ball, as opponents know they cannot afford to give him space. As soon as the Spaniard gets on the ball he is looking for a defence-splitting pass or to bring a winger into play.

Having Fabregas come in for Matic also allows Kante to drop into the deeper anchoring role on his own, where he is at his best. Kante can then break up play and continually feed Fabregas with the ball rather than having to try and be a creator himself.

Service to the wingers and forwards was evidently weak in the game against Watford, while the partnership of Matic and Kante is excellent defensively, the pair offer little creativity going forward.

Embed from Getty Images

At the back:

Chelsea still look lacklustre at the back. The positioning of their defenders was to blame for going behind to a screamer of a strike at the weekend, while an inability to clear the ball properly under-pressure in their first game saw their backline breached.

In an ideal starting lineup, Kurt Zouma would play for Chelsea but as we know, he is still a long way off playing. Zouma’s pace and strength make him a great option at right-back, a position where Branislav Ivanovic appears to be struggling.

Embed from Getty Images

Playing this XI also leaves an incredibly strong bench to change things if they aren’t going well for Conte, although many would argue the likes of Oscar, Matic, Ivanovic, Pedro and Victor Moses should be getting a look in to start games.

Moses has made a great impact in both his appearances off the bench this season, while the likes of Matic, Pedro and Ivanovic have somewhat struggled to show their class in the early stages.

Playing a 4-1-3-2 formation would also be beneficial for Oscar, as although he may not start every game ahead of Fabregas he still has the ability to take up other positions such as on the wing or rotate throughout the season in the number ten role.

While we aren’t suggesting Conte will opt for this style of play it is something that could potentially work for Chelsea and make them less predictable going forward. It is going to be interesting to see if the Italian makes any further signings before the window closes and how they will continue to lineup in the coming weeks.

Should Chelsea opt for a different formation? Does Batshuayi need to be starting alongside Costa from now on?

Blues legend tips Conte for Chelsea success after advise from MLS teammate

Chelsea‘s all-time leading goalscorer Frank Lampard has tipped his former side for success under Antonio Conte after speaking with teammate Andrea Pirlo.

Lampard, who is enjoying a strong Major League Soccer regular season with New York City FC, told BBC Radio 5 Live last week he was impressed with Conte’s Italy in Euro 2016: “Seeing him at the Euros I loved his passion, I loved how he was on the touchline, how he had his team together with a real fighting spirit.”

The 38-year-old midfield goal machine thinks Conte’s passion is only going to help Chelsea’s quest to reach the top once again: “That will all help Chelsea and I look forward to that. The players will need to buy into that and respect that, then you’ll see an improvement from last year.”

Embed from Getty Images

Lampard spoke with Pirlo, his fellow New York City midfield teammate, about Conte. Pirlo played under the Italian manager at Juventus and Lampard revealed he has nothing but good things to say about Chelsea’s new man: “I spoke to Pirlo about Conte and he had nothing but great things to say. He works the lads very hard in training with his fitness work and with organisation on the pitch.”

Chelsea get their new campaign and era underway on Monday evening against West Ham United and Lampard hopes for the West London club to go on and win the Premier League this season: “Being at Chelsea for such a long time, I have an allegiance, so I would obviously like Chelsea to win the league and I think they’ll be back challenging.”

Will Conte take Chelsea back to the top? Can Chelsea win the Premier League this season?