AS Chelsea prepare to take on Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday night, manager Antonio Conte will have been dedicating his time on the training field ahead of the game to eradicate the errors that led to their 3-3 draw with the Serie A giants at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago.
The Blues were riding high in Europe following their impressive win away to Atletico Madrid in the opening round of fixtures and went 2-0 up on the night.
So the Italian coach would have been bitterly disappointed to see his side drop points at home against Roma on Champions League matchday three.
Our friends at Football Whispers have taken a look at what Conte and Chelsea need to do in order to avoid another slip up and secure a positive result at the Stadio Olimpico.
It will go down as one the best Champions League games on the 2017/18 season, but that will be of little consolation to Conte.
The Italian tactician saw his side surrender a commanding two-goal lead and, in the end, they required a rare headed goal from one-time Real Madrid transfer target Eden Hazard to even rescue a point on home territory.
A stunning long-range 15th-minute strike from David Luiz, deployed in central midfield role for the night, put Chelsea ahead, with Hazard’s first club goal of the season further stretching the Premier League champions’ advantage.
Two up with 37 minute played, it was all going swimmingly for the home side. But the visitors began to wrestle back control of the game.
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Roma, driven on by the force of nature that is box-to-box Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan, a long-time Chelsea transfer target, started to threaten.
Put to the sword by two former Manchester City flops, the Blues were first pegged back by left-back Aleksandar Kolarov with half-time approaching before a brace from Edin Dzeko, the top scorer in Serie A last season, saw Roma take the lead on 70 minutes.
Dzeko’s first, a stunning volley to finish a pinpoint ball by ex-Tottenham Hotspur misfit Federico Fazio, was a goal-of-the-season contender; the kind of strike that is difficult to account for defensively.
However, Roma’s other two goals were eminently preventable. For the first, Kolarov was shown an inviting amount of space inside the Chelsea penalty area. The usually dependable Cesar Azpilicueta moved to close the former Lazio defender down, vacating a vast acreage in a dangerous zone, when he would have been better served holding his position.
Once Kolarov beat the Spaniard, he was able to saunter into the Chelsea box. From there, his rocketed left-foot finish gave Thibaut Courtois no chance.
And for Dzeko’s brace-clinching effort, Chelsea’s set-piece defending was unusually lax, allowing the towering Bosnian centre-forward a clean run at the ball in from wide – the kind of chance he simply doesn’t miss.
Hazard’s header 15 minutes from time spared Chelsea blushes somewhat and meant that they at least came away with something to show for their evening’s work.
But the west Londoners were unusually sloppy in their passing, completing just 79 per cent of their passes, down from their Premier League average of 86.2 per cent.
Conte will have to instil better composure within his side in midfield if they are to attain a more positive result against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Italian side currently boast Serie A’s stingiest defence, conceding just five league goals so far this term, so clean and crisp circulation of the ball will be needed to open them up.
The Blues boss will also need to iron out the defensive errors which cost his side two points in the first encounter.
Their title win last season was built on a solid defensive foundation, but they have been uncharacteristically inconsistent thus far in 2017/18, slipping to defeat three times in the league already.
Whether he sticks to the 3-5-2 he used against Roma a fortnight ago or reverts to the 3-4-3 that made Chelsea the best side in the country last season, Conte has to ensure all his bases are covered ahead of the trip to Rome.
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