Four things Chelsea fans may have missed during the international break

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Football News

No sooner had the new Premier League season began, an international break beckoned. For most of Antonio Conte's Chelsea players, they left life at Stamford Bridge behind them, temporarily, while hoping to get their respective nation's World Cup qualifying campaigns off to a fine start.

However, while for some of Chelsea's stars it was a good international break, others may have wished they had remained in west London. Goals all played a big part for Chelsea players over the past week, but for good or for worse was another matter.

Diego Costa, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah will all return to training this week with a smile on their faces, while the likes of Branislav Ivanovic and new boy Michy Batshuayi will be hoping their teammates haven't been following their games of the weekend. 

Costa silences critics

For such a prolific goalscorer like Costa, it is a wonder why the Brazil-born Spain international believes he is subject to so much criticism in the Spanish media. Although, the 27-year-old has previously cited the fact that he wasn't born in Spain, as a possible part of the reason for his misfortune.

Nonetheless, the striker will have enjoyed his brief break from club football in order to impress new Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, who took over from Vicente del Bosque following Euro 2016. An impressive display against Belgium was followed up by a fine display that saw Costa triple his international goalscoring tally.

The Spaniard had only netted once for his country prior to Spain's World Cup qualifier against Lichtenstein, but the opening goal after ten minutes and second-half strike helped La Roja on their way to a comfortable 8-0 victory.

It may have only been a big victory against a small nation, but goals count all the same, and Costa will no doubt be satisfied in his attempts to silence his critics.

Chelsea's Young Lions on target

Perhaps Costa was serving as inspiration for Chelsea duo Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah, who also had an international break to remember. 

Under-21s football can often be cast aside, but the Blues youngsters proved their qualities to England boss Sam Allardyce, showing that they, too, can get on the scoresheet which was largely dominated by one Marcus Rashford.

A six-yard volley from Chalobah, eight minutes after Rashford's opener, then inspired Loftus-Cheek to try and find the net also. And he was also successful, following up with a second-half goal to England into a comfortable lead.

But it remains unlikely that either of the duo's international exploits will be enough to force their way into Conte's starting line-up any time soon.

Branislav Ivanovic assists Irish

However, as far as the very best from Chelsea's international players was concerned, that is where it ended.

One man who did little to help his country's fortunes was Ivanovic. Serbia could have probably taken all three points on home turf, had it not have been for the long-serving Chelsea defenders third-minute blunder.

Jeff Hendrick's shot may well have been on target, however, the Serbian's slow reactions certainly didn't help the goalkeeper's chances of making a save, after the ball deflected off Ivanovic's leg, off goalkeeper Predrag Rajković and into the net.

Conte has been concerned about his back four so far this season, as exemplified by the deadline day arrivals on defenders Marcos Alonso and David Luiz, so Ivanovic's blunder on the international would have not helped in calming the Italian's fears over Chelsea's defence.

Michy Batshuayi's Belarus Blunder

But while one Chelsea player couldn't keep the ball out of the net, another couldn't get it in the net.

The international break was the perfect chance for Batshuayi to prove why he should start for Conte at the weekend. However, his missed penalty against Belarus in their World Cup qualifier would have done him no favours.

A good save from Panayi denied the 22-year-old a chance to get on the scoresheet, after former Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku netted a brace and Yannick Carrasco completed the job.

Has Antonio Conte strengthened his Chelsea squad enough, in order to compete for the Premier League title this season? Have your say in the comment box below.

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Diego Costa
Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Nathaniel Chalobah
Thibaut Courtois
Eden Hazard
Branislav Ivanovic

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