Chelsea are flying high in their title bid and after another victory this weekend that saw them dethroned Liverpool at the summit of the Premier League, the sports betting lines revealed they are also topping bookmakers favourites to win the league.
Their 1-0 win over Middlesbrough may not have been as convincing as the 5-0 demolition of Everton but Diego Costa’s strike was enough to extend their winning run in the league to six games, scoring 17 goals and conceding none.
They are now one above Liverpool and Manchester City
But despite their brilliant form presently, Antonio Conte still needs to strengthen some key areas of his team. The Premier League is arguably the most competitive league in Europe and as we are edging closer to the end of the first half of the season, it is left to see if Conte’ 3-4 -3 formation can carry squad for the whole season.
The Italian boss has no serious injury concerns and has stick to the starting eleven in his last five league games but injury to any of them could peg them back in their title bid.
Having said that we take a look at the three important departments of team Conte needs to strengthen to when the transfer window opens in January.
1. The Central Midfield
Nemanja Matic and summer signing N’Golo Kante have blended so well and doing great in the central midfield but their supposed back-ups Cesc Fabregas and John Mikel Obi have not really convinced Conte. The duo does not possess the box-to-box energy of Matic and Kante which is paramount to the success of the 3-4-3 formation. Kante was instrumental to Leicester City winning the title last season and has brought that to Chelsea.
Recruiting players who can offer similar quality in January might not come easy. Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele fit that criteria but convincing them to sell one of the performing players mid-season could be impossible. Highly rated Atlanta playmaker Franck Kessie could be an easy option.
Victor Moses has been dragged into that position and has been impressive so far but the Nigerian international is more of a forward that a defender and his lack of natural defensive abilities may be his undoing in the long run. Branislav Ivanovic is out of form and favour and look set to leave the Stamford Bridge when his contract expires in the summer.
Monaco rising star Fabinho could fit in perfectly well in that role, likewise Everton‘s Seamus Coleman is another good option for Conte to consider.
Both Diego Costa and Eden Hazard have formed a strong partnership terrorising defence in the Premier League. They both have seventeen goals between them. Though Conte still has Domonic Solanke or Pedro to fall back to in case of injury to his preferred attackers but it is not yet certain they can deliver at the level of Costa and Hazard. Former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez will represent a good buy. He netted 26 times in all competitions for Bayern Leverkusen last season and made the Bundesliga team of the season for 2015/2016.