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Can a win in the FA Cup make up for Chelsea’s disappointing title defence?

Chelsea surprised many last season when in their first season under former Italy national team boss, Antonio Conte, they stormed to the Premier League title and made it to the FA Cup final.

This season Chelsea finished 5th in the Premier League and have made it to the FA Cup final where they will face Manchester United and you can get value bets using a Top Online Sportsbook on bettingsites.ng

In the 2015-16 season before Antonio Conte took over the Blues finished a rather weak 11th place in a season which saw Jose Mourinho fired before Christmas after leading Chelsea to the title in his second season as the Blues manager in his second spell in charge of the club.

Guus Hiddink was again brought in as interim boss at Stamford Bridge and he steadied the ship and guided the Blues away from the relegation zone before handing over to Antonio Conte.

In his first season Conte did not have to contend with any European campaigns as on account of their 11th place finish in the League Chelsea were not in the Champions League or the Europa League. This allowed Conte to focus on the domestic competitions and as we know after changing the team’s formation to three at the back with wing-backs, Chelsea went on a record-equalling winning streak which saw them take 1st place in the Premier League and never relinquish it plus it also saw them reach the FA Cup final which they ultimately lost to Arsenal.

This season has been a very different story in the League and that has to come down to the pressure of also playing in the Champions League but perhaps the most telling influence to the club’s performance has been the change in personnel.

In January 2017, Antonio Conte had a massive, mid-season falling out with top-scorer Diego Costa who was linked with a big money move to China in the winter transfer window and although the pair put their differences aside until the end of the season it was clear that the rift between the player and his manager was one that could not be repaired.

Conte seemingly had less influence than he would have liked on the playing personnel moves last summer which saw Chelsea sell Nemanja Matic to Manchester United and replace him with Monaco’s Tiémoué Bakayoko plus the signing of Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City who struggled to make an impression as he recovered from injury.

The biggest most impactful change saw Chelsea eventually let Diego Costa return to Atletico Madrid and then when everyone expected them to secure Romelu Lukaku as Costa’s replacement in what would have been almost a like-for-like signing, the Blues missed out on Lukaku who signed for Manchester United and they signed Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid in a club record deal.

Other deals saw Antonio Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta join the Blues but it was the inability of Morata to replace Costa which caused Chelsea the most issues as the Spanish striker only registered 11 goals in the Premier League vs the over 20 goals which Costa supplied.

When Chelsea were linked with a host of big, target-man strikers in the winter transfer window it became obvious that neither Alvaro Morata nor Michy Batshuayi were Antonio Conte’s cup of tea and when they signed Olivier Giroud from Arsenal after loaning Batshuayi to Dortmund it was clear that Conte wanted different players to those that Chelsea had been signing.

So far this season Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 at home and lost 2-1 away in the Premier League and although the games were tight, based on recent form you would have to say United are favourites to lift the FA Cup and the bookies seem to agree.

Even with an FA Cup win which would be somewhat of a surprise, Chelsea have seriously under-achieved this season and it is surely going to cost Antonio Conte his job with Luis Enrique, Carlo Ancelotti and Massimiliano Allegri all rumoured to be possible replacements although all three managers are also linked to join Arsenal as Arsene Wenger’s replacement.

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