Antonio Conte's comments suggest Chelsea could be looking for a new manager this summer


Chelsea head to the Etihad on Sunday afternoon knowing that their game against Manchester City should have held far more significance than it is going to against the league leaders.

A staggering 22 points separate champions elect City and current title holders Chelsea, who sit in fifth - five points shy of fourth-placed Tottenham - having both played 28 games.

It's a fall from grace for Antonio Conte who, at this stage last season, was winning all the plaudits from fans and pundits alike - but is now rather more taking a backseat this campaign.

The Blues are not unfamiliar with the situation that currently presents itself to them - failing to capitalise on a successful season and push on from there. 

Chelsea have mustered up a single victory in their last four league games - coming against a West Brom side that are seven points adrift at the bottom of the table.

And their form in that time, which includes shock defeats to Bournemouth and Watford, as well as last weekend's loss at Manchester United, makes it a far from ideal period in which to face City.

Guardiola and Conte experiencing contrasting fortunes

After a slow start to his first campaign in charge, Pep Guardiola is now riding the crest of the wave having comfortably beaten Arsenal in the League Cup final, while going strong in the League and Champions League also.

Things really do change quickly in football, as will be exemplified by the two managers stood in opposing dugouts at the Etihad today with contrasting fortunes in just a matter of months.

But while things continue to go from strength to strength for Guardiola, it appears things are only getting worse for Conte.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League

It's long been suggested that the former Italy boss could walk away from Chelsea, having previously been linked with the Inter Milan job and having a strained relationship with some of the club's chiefs.

Conte has been left unimpressed by the club's failure to land his major targets in both the summer and winter transfer windows - having taken a lengthy period to get their first summer signing across the line.

Conte's lack of forward planning a concern

And according to The Sun, when asked about if he'd identified transfer targets and began pre-season planning, Conte responded: “No. The club, I think, has the same ambition at the moment, to focus on the present and not to look too far.

“The present is very important for us to try to do our best.

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

“Then we’ll prepare for the new season. But I think now the most important thing is to be focused.”

Chelsea are into the FA Cup quarter-finals after beating Hull 4-0 at home in the previous round, while they're still in with a chance of progressing into the quarter-finals of the Champions League as well.

Their first leg against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge finished 1-1, although the Catalan giants will be heavy favourites to seal progress into the next round.

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