It was Conte’s most crushing defeat in recent memory. Chelsea were torn apart by Arsenal in a first half blitz to give Arsene Wenger something to celebrate about on his 20th anniversary at the helm for the Gunners.

 

Conte’s Serbian stumper

Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic. Rewind back to this time in 2014, and they were the pillars of a Chelsea side destined for greatness. Matic had made a superb comeback and established himself as one of the best midfielders in the world and certainly the best in the Premier League in his position. Ivanovic had established himself as a Chelsea legend and it seemed he could do no wrong. Every Chelsea fan had hoped last season’s demise was a one-off and every neutral was expecting it to be.

TOPSHOT - Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil (C) vies with Chelsea's Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic (L) and Chelsea's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 24, 2016. / AFP / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (C) vies with Chelsea’s Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic (L) and Chelsea’s Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 24, 2016. / AFP / BEN STANSALL

But that is clearly not the case. Far from it. Things have not improved. The sheer lack of confidence is evident in the entire team and these two are no different. Matic is unlikely to improve from this point onward and it’s extremely hard to see Ivanovic become the great defender he once was. Maybe a change in position might help prolong his Chelsea career and the same goes for Matic, but making the once indomitable Serbian duo useful again is going to be one of Antonio Conte’s biggest tests in his first season at the helm.

No Terry, no party

Terry is Chelsea’s most important player. Quite simply put, their defence is absolutely shambolic without him. Giving Ivanovic the captain’s armband seems to make the Serbian’s performances even worse. Cahill will likely never become half the leader Terry is. The absence of the former English captain is not something Chelsea can afford to get used to with the current personnel in their squad.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Theo Walcott of Arsenal (L) is fouled by Gary Cahill of Chelsea (C) during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 24: Theo Walcott of Arsenal (L) is fouled by Gary Cahill of Chelsea (C) during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Against Liverpool, Leicester and now Arsenal, Gary Cahill’s lack of organizational skills are as clear as day. Whatever understanding that Cahill and Luiz had developed from the Brazilian’s first spell at Chelsea has seemingly been thrown out of the window and they look like they’ve met for the first time. Marcos Alonso is yet to get accustomed to the Premier League and Cesar Azpilicueta is always being played out of position.

John Terry is the only player in that Chelsea defence who can offer Conte the same kind of quality that he had at his disposal with Juventus. He is Mr.Chelsea through and through. The fans need him to be in the team. Chelsea’s short term future depends on his fitness. Whether Conte decides to play three, four, 2 or even 5 at the back, John Terry HAS to be in this Chelsea side for it to have any hope of a clean sheet, period.

Fabregas must keep starting

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea (L) show dejection after Arsenal score during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 24: Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea (L) show dejection after Arsenal score during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Spaniard didn’t have the best of games on his return to the Emirates, but he’s still a player that can’t be dropped. He is still their best passer and the most creative mind in the team. Sacrificing him would severely affect the number of chances created for the Blues’ attack. It is likely that we will see Oscar start alongside Kante and Fabregas in the Chelsea midfield as it would be extremely difficult to see Matic get a start after the kind of shifts he’s put in.

One bad collective showing cannot undermine Fabregas’ contribution to the team in attack. What he lacks in defence he makes up with his brilliant range of passing and his superb reading of the game. Costa and Hazard need Fabregas in the squad to help dictate the game from a deeper role. The defensive aspect of his game will and should improve under Conte’s watchful eye, but Fabregas cannot be dropped from the Chelsea squad if they intend on scoring goals in games.

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