FIVE-POINT PLAN

Australian Four Four Two - - PREMIER LEAGUE -

1 KEEP HAZARD HAPP Y

Stop faffing about with false nines, which led to the sag­ging-shoul­ders schtick at Manch­ester City. Eden Hazard is best cut­ting in from the in­side left chan­nel, free to cre­ate as he sees fit. He is 27, with in­ter­est from Real Madrid and Barcelona, and Chelsea must do ev­ery­thing they can to keep him sweet.

2 BUY BET­TER

You may have heard on Ra­dio Conte that last sum­mer’s win­dow wasn’t the best. Al­varo Mo­rata faded badly, Danny Drinkwa­ter started five league games all sea­son, Tiemoue Bakayoko sel­dom looked a $70m player and Da­vide Zap­pa­costa didn’t dis­lodge Vic­tor Moses at wing-back. It’s also been ru­moured that Ross Barkley is at the club. Dy­namic qual­ity must be brought in to re­fresh what now ap­pears to be a one-paced, func­tional squad. Pass mas­ter Jorginho, fol­low­ing Sarri from Napoli for $99m, was a good start.

3 THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

Ruben Lof­tus-Cheek is ob­vi­ously the stand­out, but other academy grad­u­ates de­serve game time. Six days after his 17th birth­day, Wales in­ter­na­tional Ethan Am­padu be­came Chelsea’s youngest player in a decade, while Cal­lum Hud­son-Odoi, a world cham­pion with Eng­land’s Un­der-17s, also got min­utes. An­dreas Chris­tensen showed the value in try­ing out youth.

4 DO THE EUROPA PROP­ERLY

It’s la­bo­ri­ous, but it’s a chance to blood young­sters who aren’t out on loan. Atletico Madrid could’ve done with­out the has­sle last sea­son, but the feel­good fac­tor around win­ning helped them to keep their star play­ers.

5 GET ON A ROLL…

…and stay on it. Chelsea re­main a very streaky team. Go three or four games un­beaten and the Blues of­ten put on a surge, such as the 13-game win­ning run which se­cured the 2016-17 ti­tle. Yet the re­v­erse is also true. Be­tween the end of Jan­uary and mid-April, they won just twice, a spell that in­cluded five de­feats in seven Pre­mier League fix­tures. When things go against them, the play­ers need to stand up and be counted. After all, it can’t al­ways be the man­ager’s fault.

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