Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola says it is no surprise that Antonio Conte is succeeding at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have won their last seven games in the Premier League and sit top of the standings heading into Saturday’s early kick-off against third-placed Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
After a decent start, Chelsea’s defensive flaws were soon exposed and Conte wasted little time in introducing his favoured 3-4-3 system.
The change has coincided with their recent run and, with no European football to deal with this term, they are 3.00 to win the title, with City the 2.88 favourites.
Zola and Conte played together for the Italian national team and were both in the Azzurri squad for the 1994 World Cup in the USA.
The former striker, who was named in Chelsea’s Centenary XI in 2005, is not surprised by his compatriot’s success although he has warned he faces a stiff test against City.
“He’s done very well, very, very good,” Zola told Omnisport. “He works very hard and it’s good to see somebody working hard doing very well.
“It’s (3-4-3) the perfect shape for the team. In a way I’m not surprised and, to be honest, he’s put a lot of work in it for it to be successful.
“I’m expecting both teams to go and make the game. Both teams will want to enjoy the play. So it will be a good game and I’m looking forward to it.”
Chelsea are 3.40 to win at the Etihad, the draw is 3.50 and City are 2.15 to take the points.