Chelsea's Future is Looking Bright

by - September 21, 2017

Remember some of the doom and gloom headlines surrounding Chelsea's transfer window, with no big name signings and a lack of depth to the squad? No Lukaku, no Alex Sandro, no Oxlade-Chamberlain? All the talk was of poor board decisions and even the impending sacking of an unhappy Antonio Conte.

Only 3 weeks later and a home tie against Championship side Nottingham Forest in the Carabao sponsored League Cup gives plenty of evidence to the contrary. Yes, the opponents are only mid table after 4 wins and 4 losses. Yes, they made wholesale changes to their line up for this cup match. However it was less than 2 years ago that a Chelsea cup team were humiliated at home when cruising at 2-0 up to lowly Bradford City only to concede 4 unanswered goals and be unceremoniously dumped out by the minnows. Any cup tie is a potential banana skin no matter who the opposition is.

Chelsea were able to fully rest six starting players and leave three others sat on the bench for the whole evening. Instead the line up included youth and returning players needing match fitness.

Batshauyi will receive most of the headlines thanks to his first hat trick in Chelsea colours. However he struggled to hold onto or even control the ball at times. It's not through a lack of effort, he just seems slow in learning these skills. Comfortably he is at his best when the defenders are turned and he is closing down on the goal - his finishing was effective and he deserves the plaudits.

Rudiger, Hazard and Bakayoko were all outstanding. They clearly enjoyed the runout against a lower division side who they overpowered and showed readiness for involvement in the upcoming league and European matches.

Christensen, Kenedy and especially Musonda showed that the youth in the squad is more than capable of dealing with the pressure of representing one of Europe's top teams. The determination and drive to train and work hard enough to attain a starting place was evident in Musonda's emotional response to scoring.

Aided by a commanding lead, all 3 teenage substitutes were able to make an appearance. Jake Clarke-Salter, Dujon Sterling and especially 17 year old Ethan Ampadu all impressed when given their opportunity. Ampadu can play in central defence but Conte prefers him as a defensive midfielder and I can see why. He constantly wanted to be involved in the play, moving into space, looked comfortable on the ball and tried to make forward progress with his passes. Even when a couple of passes went array he immediately tried to win back possession.

Conte would have been very satisfied with how it all went. A comfortable, one sided 5-1 victory. More first choice players fit and ready for the rest of the fixtures this month. A lot of positives from the fringe and youth players, all of whom still have a lot of work to do before becoming regulars, but they are in the best hands possible - just look at what Conte did with Moses and Alonso last season for example.

Overall the match showed that Chelsea do have depth to their squad, with adequate cover in all positions. Yes it is only one match but with Conte at the helm working at progressing the players on to greater things we can be positive about their abilities to challenge in all 4 competitions this season.

Although he may not remain head coach at Chelsea for years and years he is certainly looking to develop the squad to remain at the highest level for as long as possible. The longer he is at the club bringing on players as young as 17 the future genuinely does look bright. The future is Conte.

Written by Jon Ellis, Chelsea FC home and away season ticket holder. Follow me on twitter: @ClitheroeBlue

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