Chelsea ran riot at Stamford Bridge on Saturday night with a 5-0 victory over Everton to go top of the Premier League table.
Antonio Conte‘s side scored twice within a 70-second period through Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso to stun the visitors.
Diego Costa added a third before the break. Hazard later got his second and Pedro capped a stunning performance.
So this wasn’t in the script.
Certainly not six weeks ago when Arsenal swept past an inept Chelsea and bookmakers decided not to take bets on Antonio Conte’s future.
Maybe at the start of the season a brave few contended that the team responsible for the worst-ever defence of the title might do considerably better this season.
Still, not many had them top of the league by Bonfire Night.
And fewer still imagined they would be there playing the kind of joyful, stylish football which Roman Abramovich has always craved. In the stands, the owner smiled down on it all.
Chelsea were magnificent and Everton simply couldn’t cope.
Since being swatted aside by Arsenal, which prompted Conte to switch to a back three, Chelsea have won five Premier League matches, scored 16 goals and conceded none.
They weren’t alone in their heroics: add N’Golo Kante and Pedro to that list. Chelsea are playing with swagger, liberated from an oppressive leader.
Even at their best, Mourinho’s Chelsea rarely topped the joyfulness that this team produced and Stamford Bridge echoed to the chants of ‘Antonio’ on Saturday night.
Breaking up is so much easier to do when you find your new special one.
‘Fantastica,’ pronounced Conte afterwards.
‘When you have this type of performance, you’re very happy. It’s important to win but when you win this way playing good football with good intensity, it’s great. It’s important to win with style.
You can win but you have to show that you win with the idea of playing good football. It’s important to put these great players in the best situation to exploit their talent.
And today there was a great atmosphere with our supporters.’
There was indeed. Conte is chief cheerleader, conducting proceedings from the bench with a manic intensity.
At the end they played the Madness hit ‘One Step Beyond’, although some caution might be urged.
Arsenal will resume the lead if they beat Tottenham on Sunday and Conte will need trophies to displace Mourinho as the truest love.
Ronald Koeman was bold. Everton took Chelsea on at their own game, playing a back three with a twist, with two up front in Yannick Bolasie and Romelu Lukaku.
It seemed like a good idea, less so when you concede possession cheaply.
They lasted 35 minutes before they switched to a back four, although much good that did them.
Koeman measured his generous praise of Conte’s team with criticism of his own.
‘I’ve never seen a team as strong playing this system,’ he said.
‘This system is very difficult to play against: the movements of Hazard, Pedro, Costa.
‘The manager has brought a winning mentality to the players.
They are looking very hungry and if they keep that they will fight for the title for sure.
The way they work, run and press — you can learn from that and it’s my job to change the team if I need to or change the players.
It’s a big lesson.’
Credits: Daily Mail
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