Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte (C) celebrates on the pitch at the end of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 20, 2017. AFP / Ben STANSALL
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For a league which has almost exclusively come to be defined by attacking football, Sunday's tactical masterclass by Antonio Conte in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Tottenham was, if nothing else, a triumph for the forgotten art of defending.To offset an obvious shortcoming of Catenaccio – the risk of being swamped in the center – Conte placed Willian at the tip of a midfield diamond to numerically match up with Tottenham.Massed midfield With Chelsea's Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard all unavailable Conte had to abandon purity for pragmatism, and he did so with aplomb.Up stepped center-back David Luiz to anchor a three-man midfield with N'golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko positioned slightly ahead of the Brazilian.Full-backs Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier were willing runners, but, with so many of their teammates marooned in the middle, struggled to create overloads and pressure on Chelsea's wings.It meant the peerless Marcos Alonso – scorer of both goals -- easily marshaled the latter while Davies was left to fend for himself for large parts of the match.
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