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Antonio Conte's message to Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard - Go and play with freedom.

In recent weeks and against Atletico Madrid, with Antonio Conte's switch to a three-man midfield, he has given Cesc Fabregas and Eden...


In recent weeks and against Atletico Madrid, with Antonio Conte's switch to a three-man midfield, he has given Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard exactly what they wanted - freedom. 

The boss, in my opinion, never received ALL of the plaudits that he should have last season for winning the Premier League and that's because of our lack of involvement in Europe. Despite that, the simple fact remains on record that he made a now famous tactical switch to a back-three and it changed he course of our Premier League season - (it's worth noting that others have done the same this year!).


If, and it is a very big if, the manager can repeat what he did last season this year then it will be an even bigger achievement because he has made a tactical switch giving the side a much needed defensive platform, but at the same time giving our two most talented and creative players football freedom within the framework of the side.

Imagine yourselves as manager of the opposition looking in at Chelsea and you would highlight Fabregas, Hazard and Alvaro Morata as the main dangers and threats as you head into the game. Knowing now that two of those players have freedom to roam around the pitch to find space, to collect the ball and hurt you surely has to make it a nightmare.

I talk of freedom they both have when I am referring to our possession of the ball. Of course they are expected to make a contribution to our defensive third but not as much as in previous years in my view.

I cannot help but think that last season Conte made his switch and found a formation that the opposition could not live with, they didn't know how to fight against it as we swept most aside on our way to the title.

This season I believe that at this early stage of the season he has now unlocked the door for us to build on the struggles the opposition have playing against our formation now, to then really attack them with free-flowing football.


You have to give Cesc Fabregas immense credit for his attitude after last season when he found himself playing games only here and there. He didn't moan or complain, he listened and learnt from working with the manager as how he could adapt his game to become an important player for Conte.

Now, playing as a three alongside Tiemoue Bakayoko and N'Golo Kante, Fabregas has the defensive security around him in numbers which for him has to be a god-send. He now knows that when we win back possession of the ball he becomes the main-man, the conductor of our orchestra and it really shows.

He finds himself space to be available to collect the ball. When he does given time and space, he will take teams apart with his ability to pass the ball. This could be the season where he breaks the assists record. I honestly believe playing as he is now, with confidence and a freedom to enjoy his game, this could be his most productive season in a Chelsea shirt so far.


As for Eden Hazard? He now has the freedom to play in the position he loves, the position he has always wanted to play and we are beginning to reap the rewards of it. Against Atletico he was outstanding, United and again this weekend at West Brom.

For the first time we saw a fired up and angry Hazard who ripped our opponents to shreds at times to then gesticulate to the fans who had been booing him as if to say "What?"

His link play and combination with Alvaro Morata is already at the same levels of that with Diego Costa in my view. The have already formed an exciting partnership and all of us cannot wait to see just how good it can be.

You give arguably the most naturally talented player in the Chelsea team and in the Premier League freedom to go out and play, to enjoy his football and to become just as important as Cesc Fabregas, it will give plenty of managers and defenders nightmares this season because at times he becomes unplayable he is that good.

Kudos Antonio Conte - you have given both of them exactly what they wanted!

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