We all know Roman Abramovich has a quick trigger finger. We’ve seen this movie before.
With Chelsea sitting fourth in the Premier League and on a run of five matches with just one win, the Blues looked soundly beaten after falling a man down on the road at 11th placed Watford.
The Blues have struggled with key injuries, which cannot be blamed on the boss, as medical issues with Andreas Christensen and Alvaro Morata have left an already thin squad with serious holes. However, Conte’s decisions could also be questioned over the last few weeks.
Against Watford, many thought Conte would bench struggling Tiemoue Bakayoko in favor of England international Danny Drinkwater alongside Drinkwater’s former Leicester City teammate N'Golo Kante, but the Italian instead kept Bakayoko in the lineup and it backfired badly. Bakayoko was sent off for a second yellow after just 30 minutes, leaving Chelsea with little ferocity the rest of the match.
Conte also chose to leave Olivier Giroud on the bench despite Morata’s injury. Giroud was healthy enough to come on as a 64th minute sub after Pedro was injured. And Conte chose to leave Marcos Alonso out of the squad altogether despite no reported injury for the wing-back.
In an awkward and tense moment after the match, Conte at first admitted mistakes in his player selection before becoming hostile with the post-match reporter. “Maybe I made the mistakes in the starting eleven today,” Conte said. “My choices were very poor, I think.” When pressed on what selections he wishes he could have back, Conte got very defensive, repeating over and over that the starting eleven was incorrect and attacking the reporter for repeating the question. “Maybe the starting eleven was wrong because our start was very poor and it was very difficult to change something tonight.”
Chelsea won the title in Conte’s first season, but with the prospect of Champions League play next season in serious doubt and reports swirling that a loss to Watford would doom the Italian, Arlo White and Robbie Mustoe discuss Conte’s fortunes, and it’s not ideal for the Italian.