Chelsea Football Club had an eventful weekend.
Diego Costa’s reported bust-up with Antonio Conté has proved a fertile point of conversation in Chelsea village this weekend. The reported £80 million plus fee offered by Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian is amazing but at the same time credible.
Conté’s insistance that the striker’s absence was simply due to a bad back seems too benign to be taken as seriously given the ‘high maintenance’ nature of the Spanish striker. What has been clear however, is that Chelsea’s players wasted little time in siding with Conté, and it will likely become clear this week how Costa will react to the media frenzy generated by his absence on Saturday.
While the tabloids made a meal of his absence, the same cannot be said of his teammates. A 3-0 victory away to the defending champions is typically headline-grabbing stuff. Two goals for wing-back Marcos Alonso and one for Pedro saw Chelsea ease to the three points at the King Power Stadium. Given the stalemate that took place yesterday at Old Trafford, it pushes Chelsea seven points clear at the summit of the Premier League.
Speaking after the game to Chelsea’s official website, Nemanja Matic was effusive in his praise of the team spirit. Last weekend, of course, saw Chelsea slump to a first league defeat in 14 games, and he clearly understood the importance of bouncing back.
“It was important for us to go back on the same road that we were before Tottenham, against a very good team that is physical and strong.
“The 3-0 result makes it look like an easy game, but on the pitch it was very hard and I’m happy for the team because we played very well, we scored three goals in a very difficult stadium and I hope we continue.”
The Serb was quick to single out Alonso for particular praise – his brace being key to Chelsea’s apparent ease in securing the three points.
“It was a great performance, I’m very happy for him and for the team. He almost scored the third one, but the most important thing is the three points.
“That puts pressure on the teams behind us and to continue like this is good.”
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena