Chelsea in Turmoil as Axe Hangs Over Antonio Conte
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Chelsea in Turmoil as Axe Hangs Over Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte’s position as Chelsea manager is in serious peril following his side’s shock 4-1 loss at the hands of Watford.

Conte, who last season led the club to Premier League glory, has cut a frustrated figure ever since he failed to secure the players he wanted in last summer’s transfer window. Comments such as the one that made it clear the Blues had gone for quantity over quality made his frustration clear, and things have not improved since the January window came down.

The fact Chelsea, a club who have spent heavily in a bid to remain at the top, were linked with players such as Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch spoke volumes about the problems currently in place at Stamford Bridge.

And following the 4-1 loss at Watford, Conte said he would not have any worries if the club pulled the trigger – and tellingly questioned the mentality of some of his players.

“I’m not worried about my job,” said Conte, per the Daily Mail. “I work every day, and I give 120 per cent. Okay? If this is enough, it’s okay.

“Otherwise, the club can take a different decision. But I’m not worried. Tomorrow is another day. I can be the Chelsea coach or not. Which is the problem? My soul is clear.

“I go to sleep without a problem that maybe, maybe, I could do this or that. I try to do everything. If it’s not good, the club can make a different decision. Life goes on.”

It was an awful display from a Chelsea side who are now clinging to a place in the top four by their fingernails, and the concern is that the manager has lost the players.

Conte’s assertion that ”to play football in a great club, it means you must have a personality because it’s simple to play when there is the confidence, especially in this type of moment, you can see who is (ready to play) for a great club. To play with personality and also to risk something” is both telling and damning. Some are seemingly going through the motions; others are not up to the task.

Missing out on the Champions League for the second time in three years would be a bitter pill for the Chelsea hierarchy to swallow, but there is a distinct possibility of that happening. They are now just one point ahead of Tottenham, while a seemingly resurgent Arsenal are a further four adrift.

It was always felt that Conte would depart at the end of the season, as his relationship with the board worsened by the day, but there is a possibility of them acting sooner than that.

The problem Chelsea face if they do axe Conte is who to parachute in, as all the talk has been on him leaving in the summer – which would have handed them time to prepare for the next appointment.

Whether they stick or twist, Chelsea are in desperate need of an uptick in form and the problem remains that some sub-standard buys made in the past 12 months are hurting them.

Star names such as Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morato are capable of turning things around, but dragging along the likes of Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater and the seemingly hapless Tiemoue Bakayoko is a different matter.

Chelsea are paying the price for failing to keep pace with the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City in the spending stakes, while Conte looks set to pay the price with his job.

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