Chelsea have had a mixed season so far, with early promise fading into tepid performances culminating in comprehensive losses to Arsenal and Liverpool in the two biggest games of the season so far. Since that black day at the Emirates, consecutive wins have restored some of the Blues’ confidence.
But today’s game against Manchester United is where Conte must really earn his salary. With a squad like Chelsea’s, wins against Hull and Burnley are to be expected. This is the Italian’s third truly huge game of the season, and after failing the first two tests dismally the pressure is on the former Juventus boss to show that his side are not just flat-track bullies.
It will be a huge test of the manager’s 343 system, which has had great success in recent games but has yet to be deployed against a top team. It’s all very well watching David Luiz spray passes around from deep when he’s under no pressure, it’s another when you’ve got Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford buzzing around trying to nick the ball from him.