The final game of the oldest cup competition in world football was played at Wembley and more than a football match, it was also a managerial clash dubbed Conte versus Mourinho.
These two have no love lost between them as they engaged in a rather emotional battle of words. For Conte, the F. A cup would be a perfect parting gift to theming Chelsea fans as it has become quite inevitable that Conte would no longer be at the Stamford Bridge dugout. For Mourinho, it would have been a perfect opportunity to settle the scores with Conte as a win would have brought him at par with Conte in terms of their head to head record. As it stands, Conte has out manoeuvred and outfoxed the special one as he has a superior head to head record. Conte has secured 4 wins as opposed to Mourinho’s two. To a declining Mourinho, there are really worrying times ahead as this is the first cup competition he has lost in the English League(without considering the community shield).
With the 3-5-2 formation, Conte gave Hazard the freedom upfront to perform his magic whiles providing a strong reference point in attack through Olivier Giroud as opposed to the sleek and stylish Alvaro Morata. For Conte, this game was a brawl and hence the need for physical toughness.
Conte’s tactics worked to perfection as defensive solidity coupled with the ingenuity of Eden Hazard upfront proved enough to shut down Mourinho’s men.
Chelsea edged this game 1-0 through Eden Hazard’s penalty. Conte has proven his point; Mourinho was the special one and the aura of invincibility which once existed has been torn down to shreds. The elimination of Manchester United by Sevilla at Old Trafford goes a long way to prove this.
Definitely, much more is needed from Mourinho attacking wise else his task of rebuilding Old Trafford into the fortress that it once was would prove to be too much of a herculean task.
Should Conte be shown the exit door, he would leave with a very decent parting gift especially considering Chelsea’s inconsistency this season.
To cap it all, he would depart England with smiles all over his face as he has sent his message loud and clear to Mourinho that “he who laughs last, laughs best”.