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It’s beginning to look like a foregone conclusion.

Chelsea have roared out to an eight point lead. The only ones that can take the title away is themselves.

Five steps to the Premier League title - ChelseaOutside90 contributor Panos Kostopoulos has outlined what Chelsea must do in order to avoid a major slip with 16 games remaining.

1. Enjoy the momentum

“It’s very important to concentrate at the present. Don’t look to far, because if we start looking far we risk to lose the present and the present is more important than the future.” Antonio Conte’s words in the post-match press conference last Sunday should be tattooed in the minds of every player in the squad.

Despite the pressure piling on them after the majority of the title contenders lost points earlier in the weekend, the fuss around Diego Costa and Hull’s 11-man defence, Chelsea prevailed. They have 15 wins in their last 16 Premier League games and the momentum clearly belongs to them. They regained it after their defeat against the Spurs and if they manage to keep it, focusing on each game separately, they will be ready to cruise to the Premier League title.

2. Solidify their defensive approach

Numbers speak for themselves. According to Squawka, Chelsea have been conceding 0.68 goals per game, less than any other team in the Premier League, establishing themselves as the third strongest defence among the top 5 European leagues.

Thibaut Courtois has secured 13 clean sheets in 20 games, ten of which were achieved during their 13-games-unbeaten record run. Conte’s formation switch has transformed Chelsea’s struggling back-line to the in-form one around Europe at the moment. If they keep defending in the same fashion, the Blues should be afraid of no one.

3. Hazard to continue on his upward trajectory

Eden Hazard’s 2014-15 season when Chelsea were crowned champions, was probably the best in his career to date. Fourteen goals, nine assists and 2.61 chances created per game are some of the stats which can prove that statement. With nine goals and three assists so far this season he might reach the numbers mentioned above, but something has certainly changed for Hazard; something numbers can’t tell.

Conte, however, explained in simple words the player’s revolution: “with only talent, it’s very difficult to be the best. You must put together, with the talent, a good physical condition and good organisation in the team. You need all of this, along with the talent, to become a great, great footballer.” If Hazard keeps up the great work, he will help his team win the title, and himself secure a place among the world’s best.

4. Keep getting the most out of their supporting cast

Hazard’s performances have been astonishing, Costa’s goals look like rocks thrown on the river to form a bridge which leads to the silverware, Courtois’ gloves seem like they are made of magnet and yet the contribution that the rest of the squad has offered to the team is immense. Victor Moses’ assist against Hull and Marcos Alonso’s brace against Leicester helped Chelsea regain momentum.

Chelsea’s wing-backs have marked a combined number of seven goals and four assists so far this season, along with Nemanja Matic and Cesar Azpilicueta who have provided their teammates with 12 assists.

Conte has inculcated the team spirit to his players and everyone’s contribution matters if they want to be crowned champions for the sixth time in their history.

5. Take advantage of participating in two competitions

When asked, back in October, if the absence of European football has been an advantage for Chelsea concerning the Premier League race, Conte refused to accept it: “”I don’t want this type of advantage. This means you don’t play in the Champions League or Europa League. I think Chelsea must play during the week this type of tournament. Chelsea, this season, can’t do this. This is not an advantage.”

Chelsea is the only top-six team that is competing on a mere two fronts. Another major fact is that Conte has built his team around 14-16 players, which would be impossible if Europe was in calculations. Although for a big-spender like Chelsea lack of European football is disturbing, the extra days of rest provided to his players might finally be the key which unlocks the Premier League trophy cupboard.

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Panos Kostopoulos Twitter: @Panos88K
for Outside 90
Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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