Three potential replacements for Antonio Conte at Chelsea

by Jack Kitson / 06 February 2018, 14:55

Antonio Conte’s job at Chelsea is hanging by a thread following Monday’s devastating 4-1 defeat to Watford, which followed a shock 3-0 loss at home to Bournemouth, making the under-fire Italian the scorching hot 1/5 favourite in the Sack Race.

Conte, who won the Premier League title back in May, could now fall victim to the curse of hoisting the trophy, with 5 of the previous seven winners (prior to Conte) losing their job within a year of finishing top of the table.

Below we take a look at three realistic replacements for Conte should he become the ninth top-flight managerial casualty of the season.

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Guus Hiddink

Surprise…!

Few would be shocked if Guus Hiddink was to come in and look after the Chelsea first team for the remainder of the season, after all he’s previously done this exact job on two previous occasions.

Back in February 2009 Hiddink replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari in the Blues dugout, and come the end of the campaign he’d won the FA Cup, finished 3rd in the league and come within one minute of reaching the Champions League final. Remarkably he lost only one of his 22 matches in charge.

In December 2015 Hiddink returned to Stamford Bridge following the departure of Jose Mourinho. Come March the Dutchman had set a 12 game unbeaten Premier League record for a new manager, steadying the ship as the club rose from 16th to 10th at the end of the campaign.

Hiddink, 71, has not managed since this second spell, but should Roman Abramovich come calling then he’ll no doubt be tempted for a third stint as interim manager.

Carlo Ancelotti

Another former Chelsea boss in Carlo Ancelotti is in the frame to return to the Bridge at 7/1. The Italian took over from Hiddink in the summer of 2009, and went on to enjoy a stunning first season, leading the Blues to the Premier League and FA Cup glory. He finished the following season trophyless, and was instantly dismissed after their final game - a decision many viewed as extremely harsh.

Ancelotti has since enjoyed successful spells at PSG, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, but has been out-of-work since his surprise sacking by Bayern back in September.

The 58-year-old is the only manager to win the Champions League - in its current format - three times, and he'd be a welcome addition as the Blues attempt to go all the way in Europe for the second time in seven seasons.

Should Ancelotti return he’ll become the third manager to be reappointed by Abramovich.

Luis Enrique

After three trophy-laden years at Barcelona Luis Enrique made way for Ernesto Valverde last summer. Enrique may not be spoken in the same light as Pep Guardiola, but his accumulation of nine trophies from a possible 14 is a pretty impressive feat.

Enrique has since taken some time away from football, stating he needed a year to “recover”, but should he be offered the chance to work in the Premier League he’d be wise to consider it. The Spaniard emerged as the frontrunner for the Chelsea job last month, and remains the 2/1 favourite to replace Conte.

Should this occur then one of his first games in charge could be a clash against former club Barcelona...tasty.

If not now, then Enrique could well be an option in the summer.

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