Chelsea suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Inter Milan in their final Far East tour match in Singapore on Saturday, with new £70m signing Alvaro Morata failing to impress after being handed his first start since arriving from Real Madrid earlier in the month.
Antonio Conte was given a final chance to cast his eye over the squad before the Community Shield clash this weekend against FA Cup winners Manchester United, and with Chelsea storming to the Premier League title last season, it will be interesting for both neutral onlookers and fans alike to see just how the new arrivals will fit into an already extremely successful starting eleven.
Team to face Inter: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Morata. #CFCTour
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 29 July 2017
The defeat leaves the Blues with a poor set of results during pre-season, with their only win coming at the expense of London rivals Arsenal, before going down the following game 3-2 to Bayern Munich. Conversely, Inter Milan recorded an impressive 2-0 win against the Bundesliga champions on Thursday and secured this section of the International Champions Cup in their defeat of the Premier League winners. Whilst pre-season friendlies are little more than a chance for players to stretch their legs and become reacquainted with one another, Antonio Conte will be looking for more from his team ahead of what is sure to be a challenging domestic campaign.
After managing a record-breaking 30 wins from 38 Premier League games last term, Chelsea will be hard pressed to emulate the same success this coming season, with teams such as Manchester United and Manchester City looking more serious title contenders after considerably strengthening their respective squads. Antonio Conte will also be only too aware of what happened the season after Chelsea last lifted the title, with Leicester City also suffering the same fate after their fairytale Premier League winning campaign. The Champions host Burnley on August 12th in what appears to be a comfortable opening game and at around 2/9 with most firms to register three points, there are welcome offers available via the homepage of various bookmakers to make this a worthwhile punt.
Chelsea are still reportedly in the market for more additions and with the club competing on a European front this season following their automatic qualification for the Champions League, Conte will be keen to add to the squad to make sure there is the required depth to do just that. With Nemanja Matic recently moving to Manchester United, Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches looks to be on the Blues’ radar with Conte reportedly speaking to Carlo Ancelotti about the availability of the Portuguese international after the two teams played each other during the week.
Conte has been a breath of fresh air since he arrived in the Premier League and his passionate touchline antics have endeared him to the Chelsea faithful. However, managers are ultimately judged on the silverware they bring to the club and after a tremendous first season in England, the expectation around Stamford Bridge is as high as it ever has been. One thing is for certain, Conte will be stretching every sinew in order to make sure that his second season is as talked about as his first.