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How Chelsea Won the 2016 EPL Title

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Matthew Corgnati, Staff Writer

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After the whistle blew at the Hawthorns giving Chelsea a 1-0 victory over West Brom, they were mathematically crowned champions of the English Premier League. Despite having one of the league’s strongest squads, not many people gave them a legitimate shot to jump from their 10th place finish in the 2015-2016 campaign to taking the title the next season. Here are the top 5 reasons to how the Blues completed this incredible feat.

  1. Switching to three at the back: When Chelsea manager Antonio Conte decided to switch his formation from the typically 4 back to a 3 back, many questioned his decision making and sanity. As it turns out this is truly the biggest reason why Chelsea ended up winning the league. Placing youngster Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses to fill in at the wing back positions, they truly began to shine and proved to be the key to Chelsea’s defense .
  2. N’golo Kante: I mean, what’s even left to be said about this guy? The 2016-2017 Player’s Player of the Year and Football Writer’s Player of the Year was the most critical player in Chelsea’s lineup this season. Registering an absurd 114 tackles, 79 interceptions, and 263 recoveries in the 2016-2017 to accompany 1 goal and 1 assist shows that Kante has been EVERYWHERE this season. He helped solidify the Chelsea defense and proved to be one of world football’s best defensive midfielders.
  3. The signing of David Luiz: This was one of the biggest risk/reward deals in recent memory. Luiz had formerly played for Chelsea before his recent stint at PSG where the defender looked to be a world class defender. Chelsea made a very late move to bring back the defender for a hefty fee that many looked at as highly questionable at the beginning of the season. As it turns out, Luiz was one of the keys to Conte’s 3 at the back and made the switch possible. Luiz registered 69 interceptions to go along with 187 clearances in the title winning campaign. The pace and power of Luiz truly allowed for Conte’s men to push forward without worry of getting hit on the counter attack.
  4. The resurrection of Eden Hazard: After a breakout year in 2014 that saw the Belgian winger rack up 19 goals and 11 assists he was one of the most highly praised attackers in the world. Real Madrid and Barcelona looked positioned to make 100+ million offers for the winger who had earned himself the right to be talked about in a conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo. Then 2015 happened. The winger recorded an extremely lackluster 6 goals and 7 assists in 48 games as he seemed to completely disappear off the face of the Earth. Many decided that Hazard had just been a one season wonder and his career would only go downhill from there. Then just as quickly as the woes of 2015 came, so did the success of 2016. The winger came back with an absolute bang, scoring 16 and assisting 7 in just 40 matches as the Belgian regained his confidence and lead a lethal Chelsea attack once again.
  5. Antonio Conte: The Italian mastermind behind it all. Conte certainly had massive shoes to fill after the departure of Jose Mourinho as manager of Chelsea, and boy did he succeed. Conte’s switch to the 3 at the back, starting Alonso, Pedro, and Moses, and the work ethic he brought back to Chelsea are just a few of the impressive changes that Conte made this season. Conte was also able to bring all of his stars back up to form as they began an incredible run after a 3-0 embarrassing defeat versus Arsenal way back in September. Conte single-handedly brought his team back up to greatness through his formation switch and strategic moves.
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How Chelsea Won the 2016 EPL Title