Roma

Roma slideshow

Eden Hazard: Manchester clubs are stronger but Chelsea still a contender

The Blues forward put in a good performance against Roma and he was positive about his side’s chances this season despite a bad spell of form

Eden Hazard: Manchester clubs are stronger but Chelsea still a contender

The Blues forward put in a good performance against Roma and he was positive about his side’s chances this season despite a bad spell of form

Eden Hazard: Manchester clubs are stronger but Chelsea still a contender

The Blues forward put in a good performance against Roma and he was positive about his side’s chances this season despite a bad spell of form

Eden Hazard: Manchester clubs are stronger but Chelsea still a contender

The Blues forward put in a good performance against Roma and he was positive about his side’s chances this season despite a bad spell of form

Eden Hazard: Manchester clubs are stronger but Chelsea still a contender

The Blues forward put in a good performance against Roma and he was positive about his side’s chances this season despite a bad spell of form

Nainggolan optimistic after positive Roma performance

Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan believes that his side can be successful if they are able to replicate their performance against Chelsea in the future.

Nainggolan optimistic after positive Roma performance

Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan believes that his side can be successful if they are able to replicate their performance against Chelsea in the future.

Nainggolan optimistic after positive Roma performance

Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan believes that his side can be successful if they are able to replicate their performance against Chelsea in the future.

Chelsea's David Luiz celebrates after scoring during the Champions League group C soccer match between Chelsea and Roma at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Key Chelsea injuries proving problematic - Conte

Antonio Conte believes injuries to Danny Drinkwater, Ngolo Kantea and Victor Moses were a major reason why Chelsea were unable to overcome Roma.

Key Chelsea injuries proving problematic - Conte

Antonio Conte believes injuries to Danny Drinkwater, Ngolo Kantea and Victor Moses were a major reason why Chelsea were unable to overcome Roma.

Key Chelsea injuries proving problematic - Conte

Antonio Conte believes injuries to Danny Drinkwater, Ngolo Kantea and Victor Moses were a major reason why Chelsea were unable to overcome Roma.

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Chelsea-Roma, Dzeko fa tremare Conte

Le parole al termine del match di Champions pareggiato dai giallorossi

Chelsea-Roma, Dzeko fa tremare Conte

Le parole al termine del match di Champions pareggiato dai giallorossi

Chelsea-Roma, Dzeko fa tremare Conte

Le parole al termine del match di Champions pareggiato dai giallorossi

Chelsea-Roma, Dzeko fa tremare Conte

Le parole al termine del match di Champions pareggiato dai giallorossi

Chelsea-Roma, Dzeko fa tremare Conte

Le parole al termine del match di Champions pareggiato dai giallorossi

Chelsea-Roma, Dzeko fa tremare Conte

Le parole al termine del match di Champions pareggiato dai giallorossi

Chelsea point is great for Roma - Dzeko

Edin Dzeko emphasised the importance of Roma's draw against Chelsea in their quest to qualify from the Champions League group stage.

Chelsea point is great for Roma - Dzeko

Edin Dzeko emphasised the importance of Roma's draw against Chelsea in their quest to qualify from the Champions League group stage.

Chelsea point is great for Roma - Dzeko

Edin Dzeko emphasised the importance of Roma's draw against Chelsea in their quest to qualify from the Champions League group stage.

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Our Fantasy writer looks at this week's European matches and highlights the players who performed best from Liverpool, Roma, Shakhtar, and more

Social Media Reacts Hilariously to Chelsea Defender Gary Cahill's Ridiculous Head Bandage

​Chelsea's Champions League encounter with Roma was undeniably a fantastic spectacle in its own right, with the Premier League champions drawing 3-3 with their Italian opponents. The game included some extraordinary strikes, including a Robin van Persie-esque volley from Edin Dzeko and a trademark David Luiz shot from distance, but undoubtedly the funniest thing from the match was the medical attention Gary Cahill received after going down injured. Chelsea's medical team decided sticking one...

Social Media Reacts Hilariously to Chelsea Defender Gary Cahill's Ridiculous Head Bandage

​Chelsea's Champions League encounter with Roma was undeniably a fantastic spectacle in its own right, with the Premier League champions drawing 3-3 with their Italian opponents. The game included some extraordinary strikes, including a Robin van Persie-esque volley from Edin Dzeko and a trademark David Luiz shot from distance, but undoubtedly the funniest thing from the match was the medical attention Gary Cahill received after going down injured. Chelsea's medical team decided sticking one...

Social Media Reacts Hilariously to Chelsea Defender Gary Cahill's Ridiculous Head Bandage

​Chelsea's Champions League encounter with Roma was undeniably a fantastic spectacle in its own right, with the Premier League champions drawing 3-3 with their Italian opponents. The game included some extraordinary strikes, including a Robin van Persie-esque volley from Edin Dzeko and a trademark David Luiz shot from distance, but undoubtedly the funniest thing from the match was the medical attention Gary Cahill received after going down injured. Chelsea's medical team decided sticking one...

Is this the biennial Chelsea implosion? Comparing this season to last to find out

As Antonio Conte leapt around his technical area like a crazed jack in the box on Wednesday night, it was hard to shake off the sense that another almighty crisis could be brewing at Chelsea.  After successive defeats, Chelsea did at least rescue a point against Roma, but the way they had thrown away a 2-0 lead to trail 3-2 betrayed the feeling of chaos permeating through Stamford Bridge.  The contrast from the majority of last season is huge, where Chelsea emerged as a surprising picture of serenity and cantered to the Premier League title after a run of 13 straight wins between October and December.  So, what's changed? Why do Chelsea suddenly look so vulnerable? Chelsea conceded three goals against Roma on Wednesday night  A bad summer Conte has made no secret of the fact that he did not feel he was given sufficient backing to strengthen his squad in the summer transfer window, despite the club spending £186m and bringing in seven new players. In actual fact, the biggest issues from the summer have been caused by two of the players who left - namely Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa.  Matic in particular has been a huge loss. So much of Chelsea's build-up play last season was based on defenders playing out from the back into Matic, who could start attacks with his quick and accurate passing.  Opposition teams have now cottoned on to the fact that without Matic, Chelsea can be pressed high up the pitch into making mistakes. Crystal Palace for instance did it to excellent effect in their 2-1 win last Saturday, with neither Cesc Fabregas nor Tiemoue Bakayoko playing the role of the deep-lying outlet like the departed Serbian.  By way of comparison, Bakayoko is averaging 62.98 touches and 43.81 passes per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season; Matic's figures in 2016-17 for those two metrics were a much more healthy 75.05 and 62.24 as he effectively provided a link between defence and midfield.  Missing Matic Costa's absence meanwhile has been less keenly felt because of Alvaro Morata's impressive start at the club, but even so it has still left a hole that has not been adequately filled. Morata has been in good goalscoring form, but Costa made comfortably more tackles and interceptions per game last season than his replacement has done since joining (0.2 and 0.52 compared with 0 and 0.18). As a consequence it was harder for opposition defences to play their way out of trouble  last season.  There is also the less tangible effect of Costa's departure which is that Chelsea have less snarl and aggression without the striker, and teams do not look so intimidated by playing them.  Even Arsenal - for three years putty in Costa's hands - claimed a point at Stamford Bridge in September, and there is a wider issue in that Conte clearly doesn't trust Michy Batshuayi to be Morata's deputy.  Kante's absence and other injuries Matic's departure has been compounded by the injury to his central midfield partner from last season N'Golo Kante. It has only been two games, but already Chelsea are counting down the days until Kante returns from the hamstring injury he picked up on international duty.  With Kante in the team, it often felt as if Chelsea were playing with 12 players last season, and like most of Conte's key men he was a virtual ever present in 2016-17, missing just three league games.  In general, the contrast with the injuries suffered by Chelsea this season and last is huge.  Last season Chelsea's injury record was astonishingly good. They suffered just 14 injuries of more than 14 days (the second fewest in the league) and lost players to injuries for a total of 877 days (the third lowest in the league).  Chelsea are missing the injured N'Golo Kante The club's clean bill of health meant Conte could field the same side week after week. Between October and November Chelsea fielded an unchanged side for seven consecutive league matches, and only 13 different players started games in their 13-match winning streak. Eight players were fortunate enough to start all 13 of those games, and the back six remained identical throughout.  It was a once-in-a-generation bit of fortune for Conte, brought about in large part because of Chelsea not being in Europe for the first time in 20 years.  This season, the return of European competition has contributed to a glut of injuries that has seen Kante, Morata, Danny Drinkwater, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses all sidelined at various points. The situation worsened on Wednesday night, with David Luiz and Bakayoko both picking up knocks against Roma.  The net result of all of this has been that Conte is yet to name an unchanged line-up in the Premier League this season, and has already used 19 players in the league - almost as many as the whole of last season (24).  Growing demands on Chelsea's squad Tactical confusion The increase in injuries and suspensions this season has meant that Conte has been forced not to just change his personnel, but his tactics as well.  The blissful consistency of last season's 3-4-3 has given way to Conte even altering the system mid-match, as he did on Wednesday night against Roma.  Chelsea began with a 3-5-2 that left Fabregas and Bakayoko exposed, and meant the team were forced to hopelessly chase the ball as Roma monopolised possession. Chelsea enjoyed just 35 per cent possession in the first half, and as Conte admitted afterwards, "we weren't in control of the game".  It was a similar story when Chelsea lined up with a 3-5-2 against Manchester City, and ended up having just 38 per cent of the ball. In general, Chelsea are seeing a lot less of the ball this season compared to last, with their average figure currently at 51 per cent compared to 55 per cent.  The change in formation has meant that even in home matches, Chelsea have had to play reactively on the counter-attack rather than on the front foot.  Antonio Conte has had to chop and change his Chelsea team this season Lack of creativity Much was made of Chelsea's defensive ineptitude against Roma, but on the whole this season it has been going forward where they have struggled. Chelsea are currently averaging 1.63 goals per game in the Premier League compared to 2.23 last season, while their xG (expected goals) is the seventh lowest in the division, pointing towards the lack of clear-cut chances being created.  Part of the problem has been Hazard's lack of game time, but the absence of a consistent goal threat is also a consequence of the dysfunctional midfield that is suffering without Kante and Matic. Cesc Fabregas for instance has struggled for assists and to create chances (his figures are down at 0.17 and 3.49 per league game compared to 0.81 and 4.20 last season), while Bakayoko has created just four chances in seven matches.  Failing Fabregas Not enough intensity Less quantifiable than some of the other metrics here, but it has been striking to see the way Chelsea have looked leaden-footed and almost disinterested in some of their matches this season.  So much of their title win last season was based on the team replicating Conte's eye-popping intensity, but at times in the last few weeks the manager's frenzied touchline antics have made him resemble a passionate fan trying to start chants while everyone else sits silently and patiently.  Against Crystal Palace for instance,  there were moments when David Luiz and Gary Cahill were backing away from challenges for fear of being burned by Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha. All across the pitch, the Palace players were flying into challenges and relishing taking the game to their more illustrious opponents.  Chelsea broadly speaking had no answer.  Even previously flawless performers like Cesar Azpilicueta have suffered this season. It was almost painful to watch the Spaniard getting so easily beaten by Aleksandar Kolarov for Roma's first goal on Wednesday night, and it was not the first time this season that he has looked a little flat-footed.  Conte predicted a "difficult season" for Chelsea after the Crustal Palace defeat. The next few weeks will give us a good indication as to whether he will be proved right. 

Is this the biennial Chelsea implosion? Comparing this season to last to find out

As Antonio Conte leapt around his technical area like a crazed jack in the box on Wednesday night, it was hard to shake off the sense that another almighty crisis could be brewing at Chelsea.  After successive defeats, Chelsea did at least rescue a point against Roma, but the way they had thrown away a 2-0 lead to trail 3-2 betrayed the feeling of chaos permeating through Stamford Bridge.  The contrast from the majority of last season is huge, where Chelsea emerged as a surprising picture of serenity and cantered to the Premier League title after a run of 13 straight wins between October and December.  So, what's changed? Why do Chelsea suddenly look so vulnerable? Chelsea conceded three goals against Roma on Wednesday night  A bad summer Conte has made no secret of the fact that he did not feel he was given sufficient backing to strengthen his squad in the summer transfer window, despite the club spending £186m and bringing in seven new players. In actual fact, the biggest issues from the summer have been caused by two of the players who left - namely Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa.  Matic in particular has been a huge loss. So much of Chelsea's build-up play last season was based on defenders playing out from the back into Matic, who could start attacks with his quick and accurate passing.  Opposition teams have now cottoned on to the fact that without Matic, Chelsea can be pressed high up the pitch into making mistakes. Crystal Palace for instance did it to excellent effect in their 2-1 win last Saturday, with neither Cesc Fabregas nor Tiemoue Bakayoko playing the role of the deep-lying outlet like the departed Serbian.  By way of comparison, Bakayoko is averaging 62.98 touches and 43.81 passes per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season; Matic's figures in 2016-17 for those two metrics were a much more healthy 75.05 and 62.24 as he effectively provided a link between defence and midfield.  Missing Matic Costa's absence meanwhile has been less keenly felt because of Alvaro Morata's impressive start at the club, but even so it has still left a hole that has not been adequately filled. Morata has been in good goalscoring form, but Costa made comfortably more tackles and interceptions per game last season than his replacement has done since joining (0.2 and 0.52 compared with 0 and 0.18). As a consequence it was harder for opposition defences to play their way out of trouble  last season.  There is also the less tangible effect of Costa's departure which is that Chelsea have less snarl and aggression without the striker, and teams do not look so intimidated by playing them.  Even Arsenal - for three years putty in Costa's hands - claimed a point at Stamford Bridge in September, and there is a wider issue in that Conte clearly doesn't trust Michy Batshuayi to be Morata's deputy.  Kante's absence and other injuries Matic's departure has been compounded by the injury to his central midfield partner from last season N'Golo Kante. It has only been two games, but already Chelsea are counting down the days until Kante returns from the hamstring injury he picked up on international duty.  With Kante in the team, it often felt as if Chelsea were playing with 12 players last season, and like most of Conte's key men he was a virtual ever present in 2016-17, missing just three league games.  In general, the contrast with the injuries suffered by Chelsea this season and last is huge.  Last season Chelsea's injury record was astonishingly good. They suffered just 14 injuries of more than 14 days (the second fewest in the league) and lost players to injuries for a total of 877 days (the third lowest in the league).  Chelsea are missing the injured N'Golo Kante The club's clean bill of health meant Conte could field the same side week after week. Between October and November Chelsea fielded an unchanged side for seven consecutive league matches, and only 13 different players started games in their 13-match winning streak. Eight players were fortunate enough to start all 13 of those games, and the back six remained identical throughout.  It was a once-in-a-generation bit of fortune for Conte, brought about in large part because of Chelsea not being in Europe for the first time in 20 years.  This season, the return of European competition has contributed to a glut of injuries that has seen Kante, Morata, Danny Drinkwater, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses all sidelined at various points. The situation worsened on Wednesday night, with David Luiz and Bakayoko both picking up knocks against Roma.  The net result of all of this has been that Conte is yet to name an unchanged line-up in the Premier League this season, and has already used 19 players in the league - almost as many as the whole of last season (24).  Growing demands on Chelsea's squad Tactical confusion The increase in injuries and suspensions this season has meant that Conte has been forced not to just change his personnel, but his tactics as well.  The blissful consistency of last season's 3-4-3 has given way to Conte even altering the system mid-match, as he did on Wednesday night against Roma.  Chelsea began with a 3-5-2 that left Fabregas and Bakayoko exposed, and meant the team were forced to hopelessly chase the ball as Roma monopolised possession. Chelsea enjoyed just 35 per cent possession in the first half, and as Conte admitted afterwards, "we weren't in control of the game".  It was a similar story when Chelsea lined up with a 3-5-2 against Manchester City, and ended up having just 38 per cent of the ball. In general, Chelsea are seeing a lot less of the ball this season compared to last, with their average figure currently at 51 per cent compared to 55 per cent.  The change in formation has meant that even in home matches, Chelsea have had to play reactively on the counter-attack rather than on the front foot.  Antonio Conte has had to chop and change his Chelsea team this season Lack of creativity Much was made of Chelsea's defensive ineptitude against Roma, but on the whole this season it has been going forward where they have struggled. Chelsea are currently averaging 1.63 goals per game in the Premier League compared to 2.23 last season, while their xG (expected goals) is the seventh lowest in the division, pointing towards the lack of clear-cut chances being created.  Part of the problem has been Hazard's lack of game time, but the absence of a consistent goal threat is also a consequence of the dysfunctional midfield that is suffering without Kante and Matic. Cesc Fabregas for instance has struggled for assists and to create chances (his figures are down at 0.17 and 3.49 per league game compared to 0.81 and 4.20 last season), while Bakayoko has created just four chances in seven matches.  Failing Fabregas Not enough intensity Less quantifiable than some of the other metrics here, but it has been striking to see the way Chelsea have looked leaden-footed and almost disinterested in some of their matches this season.  So much of their title win last season was based on the team replicating Conte's eye-popping intensity, but at times in the last few weeks the manager's frenzied touchline antics have made him resemble a passionate fan trying to start chants while everyone else sits silently and patiently.  Against Crystal Palace for instance,  there were moments when David Luiz and Gary Cahill were backing away from challenges for fear of being burned by Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha. All across the pitch, the Palace players were flying into challenges and relishing taking the game to their more illustrious opponents.  Chelsea broadly speaking had no answer.  Even previously flawless performers like Cesar Azpilicueta have suffered this season. It was almost painful to watch the Spaniard getting so easily beaten by Aleksandar Kolarov for Roma's first goal on Wednesday night, and it was not the first time this season that he has looked a little flat-footed.  Conte predicted a "difficult season" for Chelsea after the Crustal Palace defeat. The next few weeks will give us a good indication as to whether he will be proved right. 

Is this the biennial Chelsea implosion? Comparing this season to last to find out

As Antonio Conte leapt around his technical area like a crazed jack in the box on Wednesday night, it was hard to shake off the sense that another almighty crisis could be brewing at Chelsea.  After successive defeats, Chelsea did at least rescue a point against Roma, but the way they had thrown away a 2-0 lead to trail 3-2 betrayed the feeling of chaos permeating through Stamford Bridge.  The contrast from the majority of last season is huge, where Chelsea emerged as a surprising picture of serenity and cantered to the Premier League title after a run of 13 straight wins between October and December.  So, what's changed? Why do Chelsea suddenly look so vulnerable? Chelsea conceded three goals against Roma on Wednesday night  A bad summer Conte has made no secret of the fact that he did not feel he was given sufficient backing to strengthen his squad in the summer transfer window, despite the club spending £186m and bringing in seven new players. In actual fact, the biggest issues from the summer have been caused by two of the players who left - namely Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa.  Matic in particular has been a huge loss. So much of Chelsea's build-up play last season was based on defenders playing out from the back into Matic, who could start attacks with his quick and accurate passing.  Opposition teams have now cottoned on to the fact that without Matic, Chelsea can be pressed high up the pitch into making mistakes. Crystal Palace for instance did it to excellent effect in their 2-1 win last Saturday, with neither Cesc Fabregas nor Tiemoue Bakayoko playing the role of the deep-lying outlet like the departed Serbian.  By way of comparison, Bakayoko is averaging 62.98 touches and 43.81 passes per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season; Matic's figures in 2016-17 for those two metrics were a much more healthy 75.05 and 62.24 as he effectively provided a link between defence and midfield.  Missing Matic Costa's absence meanwhile has been less keenly felt because of Alvaro Morata's impressive start at the club, but even so it has still left a hole that has not been adequately filled. Morata has been in good goalscoring form, but Costa made comfortably more tackles and interceptions per game last season than his replacement has done since joining (0.2 and 0.52 compared with 0 and 0.18). As a consequence it was harder for opposition defences to play their way out of trouble  last season.  There is also the less tangible effect of Costa's departure which is that Chelsea have less snarl and aggression without the striker, and teams do not look so intimidated by playing them.  Even Arsenal - for three years putty in Costa's hands - claimed a point at Stamford Bridge in September, and there is a wider issue in that Conte clearly doesn't trust Michy Batshuayi to be Morata's deputy.  Kante's absence and other injuries Matic's departure has been compounded by the injury to his central midfield partner from last season N'Golo Kante. It has only been two games, but already Chelsea are counting down the days until Kante returns from the hamstring injury he picked up on international duty.  With Kante in the team, it often felt as if Chelsea were playing with 12 players last season, and like most of Conte's key men he was a virtual ever present in 2016-17, missing just three league games.  In general, the contrast with the injuries suffered by Chelsea this season and last is huge.  Last season Chelsea's injury record was astonishingly good. They suffered just 14 injuries of more than 14 days (the second fewest in the league) and lost players to injuries for a total of 877 days (the third lowest in the league).  Chelsea are missing the injured N'Golo Kante The club's clean bill of health meant Conte could field the same side week after week. Between October and November Chelsea fielded an unchanged side for seven consecutive league matches, and only 13 different players started games in their 13-match winning streak. Eight players were fortunate enough to start all 13 of those games, and the back six remained identical throughout.  It was a once-in-a-generation bit of fortune for Conte, brought about in large part because of Chelsea not being in Europe for the first time in 20 years.  This season, the return of European competition has contributed to a glut of injuries that has seen Kante, Morata, Danny Drinkwater, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses all sidelined at various points. The situation worsened on Wednesday night, with David Luiz and Bakayoko both picking up knocks against Roma.  The net result of all of this has been that Conte is yet to name an unchanged line-up in the Premier League this season, and has already used 19 players in the league - almost as many as the whole of last season (24).  Growing demands on Chelsea's squad Tactical confusion The increase in injuries and suspensions this season has meant that Conte has been forced not to just change his personnel, but his tactics as well.  The blissful consistency of last season's 3-4-3 has given way to Conte even altering the system mid-match, as he did on Wednesday night against Roma.  Chelsea began with a 3-5-2 that left Fabregas and Bakayoko exposed, and meant the team were forced to hopelessly chase the ball as Roma monopolised possession. Chelsea enjoyed just 35 per cent possession in the first half, and as Conte admitted afterwards, "we weren't in control of the game".  It was a similar story when Chelsea lined up with a 3-5-2 against Manchester City, and ended up having just 38 per cent of the ball. In general, Chelsea are seeing a lot less of the ball this season compared to last, with their average figure currently at 51 per cent compared to 55 per cent.  The change in formation has meant that even in home matches, Chelsea have had to play reactively on the counter-attack rather than on the front foot.  Antonio Conte has had to chop and change his Chelsea team this season Lack of creativity Much was made of Chelsea's defensive ineptitude against Roma, but on the whole this season it has been going forward where they have struggled. Chelsea are currently averaging 1.63 goals per game in the Premier League compared to 2.23 last season, while their xG (expected goals) is the seventh lowest in the division, pointing towards the lack of clear-cut chances being created.  Part of the problem has been Hazard's lack of game time, but the absence of a consistent goal threat is also a consequence of the dysfunctional midfield that is suffering without Kante and Matic. Cesc Fabregas for instance has struggled for assists and to create chances (his figures are down at 0.17 and 3.49 per league game compared to 0.81 and 4.20 last season), while Bakayoko has created just four chances in seven matches.  Failing Fabregas Not enough intensity Less quantifiable than some of the other metrics here, but it has been striking to see the way Chelsea have looked leaden-footed and almost disinterested in some of their matches this season.  So much of their title win last season was based on the team replicating Conte's eye-popping intensity, but at times in the last few weeks the manager's frenzied touchline antics have made him resemble a passionate fan trying to start chants while everyone else sits silently and patiently.  Against Crystal Palace for instance,  there were moments when David Luiz and Gary Cahill were backing away from challenges for fear of being burned by Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha. All across the pitch, the Palace players were flying into challenges and relishing taking the game to their more illustrious opponents.  Chelsea broadly speaking had no answer.  Even previously flawless performers like Cesar Azpilicueta have suffered this season. It was almost painful to watch the Spaniard getting so easily beaten by Aleksandar Kolarov for Roma's first goal on Wednesday night, and it was not the first time this season that he has looked a little flat-footed.  Conte predicted a "difficult season" for Chelsea after the Crustal Palace defeat. The next few weeks will give us a good indication as to whether he will be proved right. 

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