After a disappointing second season at Chelsea, Antonio Conte has been sacked. Despite winning the Premier League and the FA Cup, Roman Abramovich has decided that the club is in need of a new manager to take the club forward.
As Antonio Conte heads out the door, it is time to celebrate some of the Italian manager’s greatest achievements as Chelsea manager. One of which is the club’s record breaking 13-game winning streak. After suffering back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal, Conte changed the team’s formation to 3-4-3. This tactical alteration paved the way for a winning streak which would ultimately secure the title for Chelsea.
1. Hull City 0-2 Chelsea
Victory over Hull stopped the rot, after successive defeats, with Willian and Diego Costa scoring the goals in a comfortable win. This was the first game in which Conte trialled his 3-4-3 formation from kick-off, and it proved to be a success.
Victor Moses was one of the main beneficiaries of the switch in formation, playing in the unfamiliar role of right wing-back.
2. Chelsea 3-0 Leicester City
Chelsea defeated reigning champions Leicester City in their second consecutive win. Prior to the game several bookmakers had suspended betting on Conte being the next manager to lose his job. This speculation, however, did not unnerve his side who dominated the Foxes in a comfortable win.
Goals from Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses, who was beginning to thrive in his new role, secured all three points against N’Golo Kante’s former side.
3. Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United
Chelsea’s third victory came against former manager Jose Mourinho in a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United. The Blues took the lead in the first minute through Pedro, who slotted the ball into the net after rounding David De Gea.
During the game fans taunted their former manager with chants of “you’re not special anymore,” as Mourinho suffered his heaviest defeat since 2010. The win saw Chelsea climb to fourth in the table and put rumours of Conte’s sacking to bed.
4. Southampton 0-2 Chelsea
Eden Hazard was undergoing a dramatic revitalisation under Antonio Conte, as he scored for the third consecutive game. The Belgian had been criticised after a disastrous season but now appeared to have rediscovered his form under the Italian.
This game also saw Diego Costa reach 40 Premier League goals in just 64 games. As well as excelling in attack, Chelsea became more solid at the back and kept four clean sheets after switching to 3-4-3.
5. Chelsea 5-0 Everton
A resounding 5-0 victory over Everton saw Chelsea climb to the top of the Premier League for the first time since August. Toffees manager Ronald Koeman had attempted to counteract Conte’s new system by playing three at the back, but it proved a futile effort as the Blues ran riot in their fifth consecutive win.
Eden Hazard once again stole the headlines with an impressive performance against Everton, with Conte labelling him the “complete player.”
6. Middlesborough 0-1 Chelsea
Diego Costa’s tenth goal of the season proved to be the difference as Chelsea extended their winning run to six games. Given the events that occurred in the following season it is hard to believe that Conte was full of praise for his player, calling the Spaniard “one of the best strikers in the world.”
This victory saw Chelsea move one point clear at the top of the table, with fifth placed Tottenham up next.
7. Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
Chelsea conceded for the first time in 601 minutes thanks to Christian Eriksen’s outstanding strike. However, the Blues came back from 1-0 down to ensure that their winning streak extended to seven games.
Eriksen’s magnificent goal was matched by Pedro 30 minutes later as the midfielder curled his shot into the top right corner. Moses starred again in his new role, scoring the winning goal in a thrilling game.
8. Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea
Their frustration came to a head when Sergio Aguero saw red for a poor challenge on David Luiz. In the melee which ensued Fernandinho was also sent off, after grabbing Cesc Fabregas by the neck.
9. Chelsea 1-0 West Bromwich Albion
West Brom’s stubborn defence proved no match for Chelsea as the Blues scrapped their way to another victory. Diego Costa once again scored the winning goal after capitalising on centre back Gareth McAuley’s mistake midway through the second half. This goal saw the striker match his tally for the entirety of the 2015/16 season after just 15 games.
10. Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea
Eden Hazard missed Chelsea’s tenth consecutive win after picking up a knock in the previous game. But the Blues were able to cope without the Belgian thanks to a low effort from Fabregas. The hosts set up to defend against a Chelsea side full of confidence, but once again Conte’s men found a way to win.
A fine save from Thibaut Courtois in the final moments of the game meant that Chelsea would top the table at Christmas.
11. Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea
Chelsea put in another dominant performance but their margin of victory was only constricted due to several fine saves from Wayne Hennessey. Although Costa scored his 13th goal of the season, it was Chelsea’s defence which received the most praise, keeping their ninth clean sheet on this remarkable run.
12. Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth
Top scorer Costa and midfield anchor Kante were both absent as Chelsea set a club record of 12 consecutive Premier League wins. Despite the absence of two star performers, it was another comfortable victory for Conte as goals from Hazard and Pedro secured all three points.
Conte became the first Premier League manager to win 15 of his first 18 games in charge, a run which made it seem increasingly likely that he would eventually lift the trophy.
13. Chelsea 4-2 Stoke
Chelsea defeated a resilient Stoke to equal the top flight record of 13 consecutive wins in a single season. This performance was another example of the great resolve that Conte’s side showed on their way to winning the Premier League.
Conte may have had a disappointing second season at the Bridge but his first is amongst the most memorable in Premier League history.