Chelsea’s Conte: “This is a perfect response of the champions”
Chelsea’s Antonio Conte heard all the grief after his reigning champion Blues fell 3-2 to Burnley last week at Stamford Bridge, so forgive him if he preens a bit after beating Spurs 2-1 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Missing Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas from red card suspensions and already dealing with a relatively thin squad -- admittedly of Conte’s choice with many sanctioned sales and loans -- Chelsea started Andreas Christensen and not-yet 100 percent Tiemoue Bakayoko and pulled out a win against a very good Spurs side.
And there’s the rub: Chelsea’s bench did include Pedro and Michy Batshuayi, but also had unfamiliar surnames Musonda, Kenedy, Tomori, and Scott.
[ POCHETTINO: “The better team did not win the game” ]
Eden Hazard will return from injury, but Diego Costa isn’t walking through that door and Chelsea has already sold Nemanja Matic, Nathan Ake, and Nathaniel Chalobah while sending Kurt Zouma, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Tammy Abraham out on loan.
Expect buys in the next two weeks, whether a linked name like Danny Drinkwater or unexpected targets.