Have Chelsea Really Got What it Takes to be Champions?

While all eyes have been on Liverpool after the Red's explosive start to the new season, Cheslea's ascent to second has been nothing short of remarkable. After all, it was only back in September that new manager Antonio Conte was under intensifying pressure at the Bridge, after a humiliating 3-0 defeat against a far from vintage Arsenal side.

Since that bleak, Saturday evening, Chelsea have won five consecutive league games, scoring an astonishing 16 goals and conceding none in the process. This run included a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, while the Blues are now just one point behind Liverpool and with a superior goal difference.

A Remarkable Turnaround, But Can Chelsea Go All the Way?

This incredible form aside, the question that remains is whether or not Chelsea will be able to sustain a title challenge this season? This may seem like an odd question, particularly after Leicester City re-wrote the rule back last year by winning the title at odds of 5000/1, but it is pertinent given the incredibly competitive nature of the EPL in 2016/17.

In terms of pedigree, there is no doubt that Chelsea have what it takes to win the title. After all, the majority of the first-team squad when the Blues last won the Premier League two years ago, while players such as Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic have rediscovered their form this season.

In Antonio Conte, they also have a stellar manager who won three consecutive Serie A titles between 2011 and 2014, meaning that he has the experience and knowledge to drive a sustained assault on the EPL crown.

If we compare the Blues with Liverpool and Pep's Manchester City, we are also presented with a more rounded and defensively resolute team. While both Liverpool and City rely on their aggressive pressing to retain possession and protect their fragile back lines, Chelsea are more adept at defending in numbers and hitting teams on the break.

This is particularly true since they switched to Conte's trademark 3-4-3 system, which has reinvigorated players such as Gary Cahill and finally established a platform for David Luiz' unique talents.

Where Will the Blues Finish in the EPL Table?

Of course, there remain chinks in Chelsea's armoury that were expertly exposed by Liverpool and Arsenal earlier in the season. They have a fundamental lack of pace in defence, for example, while they may struggle for goals should Diego Costa lose form or incur an injury.

Despite his tremendous form at present, it may even be argued that Victor Moses is not a long-term selection at right wing-back, particularly against better teams with superior attackers.

All sides have their weaknesses, however, such as Liverpool's porous defence and Manchester City's propensity to make individual errors. In fact, it can be argued that Chelsea's issues are less substantial than either of their rivals, especially given how they have improved since the beginning of the season.

Given this, their tactical flexibility and level of experience, it would appear as though the Blues are now narrow favourites in one of the most keenly-contested title races of all time.

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