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Charlie’s Soap Box: Keep the blue flag flying high

By Charlie Charalambous
Well that escalated rather quickly. I was hoping for a relaxing start to the opening salvos of the Premier League season.

Chelsea’s depleted squad would ease their way past Burnley to record a routine victory at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are traditionally good starters to a season, but were hammered at home 3-0 in the first 45 minutes. To think that I cut short my stay on a Napa beach roasting on a sun bed to witness the champions getting toasted by the Clarets from Lancashire.

It’s always a worrying site when manager Antonio Conte doesn’t wear his mafia attire on the touchline but opts for a leisurely tracksuit.

This usually gives me the feeling that the Italian maestro isn’t in it to win it, but is trying to prove a point to the board to get their cheque book out.

Okay Conte didn’t get all the players he was looking for, but then why off-load young talent like Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek, Zouma, Ake, Solanke and then tell your world class striker (Diego Costa) to sling his hook.

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Chelsea bemoan that they have a lack of number in the squad, but have about 40 players on loan or sold. Then look at the players that Chelsea have deemed not good enough: Lukaku, De Bruyne, Salah, Matic, Mata, Cuadrado, Andre Schurrle and now Costa.

What is the point of selling Matic to United, if you then need to go out and buy a similar player who is not as good, while making your rivals that much stronger. Just like Mourinho’s disastrous last stint at Chelsea defending the league title – something is not quite right at the home of the champions. Conte’s 3-5-2 – a masterstroke last season – now looks full of holes with his defence unable to defend set plays.

It is still early days, but Conte is already in Dunkirk mode with only one game played.

There will be no hiding place if Chelsea slip up in their next game against London rivals Spurs. Losing to Burnley was humiliating enough, but being undone by Spurs is unthinkable.

Having said that, I remember watching Chelsea play Grimsby Town on a wet and windy Tuesday night.

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