Chelsea have struggled from the start of 2018. The London based side have only won 11 points out of a possible 30, including a historic loss to Tottenham at Stamford Bridge for the first time in 28 years. The question is no longer: will Antonio Conte be sacked? But it is now: when will Conte be sacked and who will replace him?
What can possible Conte replacement Luis Enrique bring to Chelsea?
With that question in mind, one of the very first names on that shortlist of managers touted to replace Conte is Luis Enrique. Enrique’s CV is an interesting one given his failure at AS Roma, moderate success at Celta Vigo, and great triumph at FC Barcelona. Nonetheless, most people remember him for having won nine trophies in three years with Barcelona and for properly managing the three superstars in his attack and keeping them somewhat satisfied as often as possible. The way that Enrique handled that star-studded Barcelona squad was sublime and it will be interesting to see what he will bring to Chelsea in order to get results and keep the fans and the board happy.
An Aggressive, Yet Balanced Attack
During his time at Barcelona, Enrique was known for the manner in which his side attacked. Barcelona’s style of play during his tenure was no longer the rhythmic tiki-take that Pep Guardiola employed. Enrique’s attack was more like Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, which was aggressive in some parts and soft in others. His Barcelona side could press relentlessly, counter-attack, possess the ball, and most importantly, capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes.
A Reinvigorated 3-4-3 Formation
Enrique ended his time at Barcelona whilst employing the 3-4-3 formation. This formation is the same one that he utilized to complete the greatest comeback in Champions League history which allowed him to beat PSG 6-1 and helped the Catalan club advance in the tournament. Conte employed the 3-4-4 last season and achieved great success. However, it is evident that Chelsea’s opponents have developed counter tactics and this season Chelsea’s attempt at a 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1 is laughable and would be even worse without Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante.
Many of the Blues problems since Roman Abramovich bought the club have been problems off the pitch. This season is no different. Conte is clearly not happy with the board of directors and he has made it clear. Similar to Jose Mourinho and his off-field antics, Conte’s histrionics have been a problem for the team all season long. Enrique offers aggressiveness and dynamism on the pitch and tranquility off it, the way it should be. Furthermore, Enrique is a master at not allowing the media to affect his side’s performances. While at Barcelona, the tax-scandal with president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Neymar did not affect the success of the club. Enrique had very little say in transfers at Barcelona. Enrique will do the best job he can with what he is given by the club.
The Last Word
Enrique was very successful in Barcelona. Having had Messi, Suarez, and Neymar was a plus, but it posed its own challenges. The way that Enrique dealt with those challenges led to success for him and the club. Chelsea are bound for success if he can solve their issues, but that is a big if.
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