Antonio Conte has so far suffered from second season blues, having led Chelsea to the Premier League title last season. This season has seen Chelsea struggle for form, sitting in fifth place and facing uncertainty in reclaiming a place in next season’s Champions League. Manchester City have been the runaway leaders in the league this season and Chelsea are currently 5/2 to finish in the top four this season with Betfair Premier League odds. Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham along with Manchester City are all currently above Chelsea in the table.
There have only been 11 Premier League managers who have been able to get the better of the Italian manager: some of those names will hardly be a surprise. However, there are a few names on this list that might cause a few eyebrows to raise.
Jurgen Klopp was the first manager to defeat Antonio Conte in the Premier League after the German manager took his Liverpool side to Stamford Bridge and inflicted a 2-1 defeat on the Blues last season. Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson gave Liverpool a 2-0 lead in the first half before Diego Costa, now at Atletico Madrid, halved the deficit in the 61st minute.
The second manager to defeat Conte’s Chelsea in the Premier League was Arsene Wenger who did it immediately after Chelsea’s defeat to Liverpool. Chelsea travelled to the Emirates Stadium hoping to bounce back after the Liverpool defeat, however, they suffered a 3-0 defeat, with Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil getting the goals for the Gunners.
From the end of September 2016 to the beginning of January 2017 Conte was able to keep Chelsea undefeated in the league. However, on January 4th 2017, a trip to Tottenham Hotspur saw Mauricio Pochettino become the third manager to beat Conte in the Premier League. Spurs won the match 2-0 thanks to a brace from Dele Alli. Despite the loss, Chelsea still maintained a comfortable lead over second-placed Liverpool at the time, who had drawn away at Sunderland.
Chelsea once again went on a long undefeated run, not losing again until 1st April 2017, when Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace secured a shock 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge. Cesc Fabregas had given Chelsea the lead in the first five minutes, but goals from Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke in the 9th and 11th minute respectively cut Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table from ten points to seven.
Little more than two weeks later, former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho became the fifth Premier League manager to defeat Antonio Conte’s Chelsea when his Manchester United team hosted the league leaders in what had the potential to turn both teams’ seasons upside down. Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera gave Manchester United a 2-0 win, giving United a glimmer of hope of finishing in the top four, sitting in fifth place, four points behind Manchester City with a game in hand at the time. Following this loss, Chelsea’s lead had been cut from seven points to just four and Tottenham, sitting in second place, were hoping for more slip-ups from their London rivals.
Chelsea would go on to win their remaining six matches, finishing seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham in the 2016/17 Premier League. Antonio Conte had won the Premier League in his first season at the club and was praised for bringing glory back to Chelsea. However, that would change almost immediately.
The opening day of the 2017/18 season saw pre-season Premier League predictions turned on their head as Burnley, managed by Sean Dyche, travelled to Stamford Bridge and came away with all three points. Chelsea had Gary Cahill sent off after just 14 minutes and 10 minutes later, Sam Vokes opened the scoring for Burnley. Stephen Ward added Burnley’s second before Vokes completed his brace in the 43rd minute, leaving Chelsea 3-0 down before half-time. New signing Alvaro Morata got a goal back on the 69th minute for Conte’s side before Cesc Fabregas was sent off, leaving the Blues with just nine men. David Luiz gave Chelsea fans hope of getting a draw when he scored Chelsea’s second in the 88th minute, but Burnley held on and Dyche became the sixth manager to defeat Conte.
Chelsea recovered from the opening day blip and, prior to their seventh match at home to Manchester City, they were sitting in third place, just three points off the top two; City and Manchester United. Former Chelsea player Kevin De Bruyne scored the only goal of the game, increasing City’s lead over defending champions Chelsea and making Pep Guardiola the seventh manager to defeat Chelsea under Conte.
The eighth match of the season saw Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace host Chelsea and the Eagles had yet to score a single league goal, making Chelsea huge favourites. A Cesar Azpilicueta own goal after 11 minutes and a 45th minute goal from Zaha gave Palace their first goals and points of the season and left Chelsea in fifth place, nine points behind league leaders Manchester City.
A month into his reign as West Ham manager, David Moyes became manager number nine on this list, leading struggling West Ham to a 1-0 win over the defending champions at the London Stadium thanks to summer signing Marko Arnautovic. This goal left Chelsea in third, now 14 points off the top spot.
The 10th manager to defeat Antonio Conte’s Chelsea was Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe after a shock 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge. Second-half goals from Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and former Chelsea defender Nathan Ake secured the famous victory for the Cherries.
The most recent Premier League manager to defeat Conte was Watford manager Javi Gracia, with the Hornets inflicting a humiliating 4-1 defeat on Chelsea at Vicarage Road. Troy Deeney scored a 42nd-minute penalty for the Hornets before Eden Hazard equalised in the 82nd minute. Despite only ten minutes being left to play, Chelsea capitulated and Janmaat, Deulofeu and Pereyra scored the remaining three goals for Watford.