July 2016. The time when the world watched the tactical masterclass of a relatively unknown but energetic Antonio Conte. He was looked at carefully by football spectators as he had grabbed headlines in April that he was going to join the then outgoing premier league champions after coaching Italy in Euros. He then took a week off and then returned to Cobham to train with the first team. His preseason schedule included the likes of Real Madrid and Liverpool along with a game in Austria before leading the team to Premier League glory. However, in April 2018, another man started to come into the frame to replace Conte in the name of Maurizio Sarri, the Napoli coach who was wreaking havoc in Italy by almost creating an upset in the Serie A losing out narrowly to eventual champions Juventus.
Both the managers began their preseasons late and had had drastic transfer windows. Conte’s window had the everpresent N’Golo Kante as a valuable addition to the squad Along with striker Michy Batshuayi. Sarri, on the other hand, has just had one player on his roster till now. From Alex Sandro to Marcos Alonso, and from Leonardo Bonucci to David Luiz, expect some “expectations vs. reality” kind of transfers this season too.
Sarri has had three preseason games and a community shield fixture in his timetable after arriving late due to legal issues. But there’s been a similar instant impact in both the cases- and given the previous experience under one Italian in his first season, expect the similar dynamic kind of game from the blues. Trophies? Not to predict under a new manager but that’s been Chelsea’s advantage under Conte. A new brand of football awaits us for sure. Good luck to him.