It was once again a bad day for the London based clubs, as Manchester United beat Chelsea first in the Premier League, followed by City’s League Cup winning triumph over Arsenal. Things did not go as per plan for Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger on the night and they will want to look back and take the positives from the games.
However, despite the close game between the Blues and the Red Devils, it was Jose Mourinho’s side that came out on top at Old Trafford, though they are 13 points behind the Citizens, who have one game in hand still.
This means that the top flight of English football is now more or less won by Pep Guardiola’s side, unless they really mess up things now and a miracle of some sort happens.
With that said and done, there were a few incidents on Sunday that would have really surprised the football fans to say the least.
One such questionable decision was Antonio Conte’s withdrawal of Eden Hazard in the second half, which would have surprised the fans of the west London outfit, as to why the Italian manager would have removed his best player.
The score-line was 1-1 when the Belgian international came off in the 73rd minute and eventually a couple of minutes later, Jesse Lingard scored the winner, giving his side all three points.
However, Conte has justified his decision by saying that he felt that the 27 year winger was tired and had given his all in the match.
The former Juventus manager stated that he felt that the attacker gave everything that he could in the first half and was “out of gas” in the second, due to which he decided to bring in a change.
Due to this, he decided to make the call of withdrawing him and bringing on Pedro, who was fresh, to have a run at the United defence and change the course of the game in his team’s favour.
The Italian manager eventually accepted that it was possible that the Londoners may not finish in the top four and might miss out on Champions League football next term.
Well, it is a bold confession on Conte’s part, though it is still not certain whether that was a smart thing to do not, with the way that the club’s board has been going at things at present.
This statement and the decision of withdrawing Hazard might cost Conte his job, if the English giants can’t knock off Barcelona when the two clubs face off against each other in the second leg of their round of 16 tie, in Europe’s top cup competition.
The players are confident that they can produce an upset, though the Catalan giants are surely the favourites to win the match at the Nou Camp and the overall tie.
Conte knows that he needs Hazard to be a 100%, if he wants to push Barca to the limit and go through to the next round of the competition.
Hopefully, the former Lille man does not get offended by his manager’s decision to take him off and keeps going, working hard the way that he has been performing in recent times.