Even though some may consider the FA tie against Peterborough as low importance, fans had a lot to take from the Chelsea win. First off, Conte showed he can adapt to squad changes and have players deliver top performances even though they have spent little time on the pitch this season. The biggest challenge was to make them work like a team, a fact which the Italian boss pointed out in his post-match statements as reported by the BBC:
“I am pleased, when you change nine players it is never easy to play a good game and to be a team. Today we showed we were a team. I’m pleased for those who have played less as they have showed me good form.”
Another thing worth talking about is Zouma’s return. While the Frenchman did show he is not yet as fearless as he was at the beginning of his Chelsea career, he did play well and given time he will likely get back to his best. Who would be in top form after 286 days recovering? Regardless, his form was promising as pointed out by Conte: “I am very happy. It is a first game after a really bad injury and he is fully recovered. He played good. We know he can improve a lot.”
The other key return to the line-up was that of club captain John Terry who has missed much of the season so far due to a gluteal injury amongst other problems but he was back against Peterborough and he looked pretty good until he was given a straight red card since he was the last Chelsea defender and he was forced to bring down Peterborough’s striker Angol. Conte was impressed with his returning captain and had this to say about him:
“John played a really good game, for me, in this season he has shown me great ability.”
Michy Batshuayi got a rare start for Chelsea and marked his start by adding the team’s second goal just before half-time. Conte said the Belgium striker has a point to prove but even with a good performance he might have failed to convince the manager he deserves to play more games. Given the form of Diego Costa and the position of the team in the League using a very consistent line-up it is understandable why Conte has used the smallest number of players in the Premier League and why Batshuayi might have to show more patience before he gets to play more.
Last but not least, there was Pedro’s performance. The Spaniard was top notch and showed he is very much at home at Stamford Bridge as he scored Chelsea’s first and last goals. He was very much involved in all that was good about the attack, he was fully committed and showed incredible technical abilities. Hopefully he will get a contract extension as his current deal will expire in 2019 and he has really shown just why he was brought to Stamford Bridge with his scintillating play under Antonio C0nte.
Overall, it was a good game to watch maybe except for the part when Terry was sent off all too easily. Chelsea looked great, looked focused and showed that the team regulars have serious competition from those on the bench.