Nickname: The Blues
Date Founded: 1905
Ground: Stamford Bridge (42k)
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Rivals: Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United
Last season’s finish: 3rd
First five games:
Burnley (A), Leicester (H), Everton (A), Swansea (H), Man City (A)
Nemanja Matic – The Serbian defensive midfielder was a key cog of Chelsea’s team after arriving back at the club last January. His top work rate and positioning should see him remain a first team regular this season, providing a needed ball-winner role that’ll allow the more attack minded midfielders to flourish.
Andre Schurrle – Following an incredible World Cup for Germany, Chelsea fans will be eager to see him in a blue shirt after a not as impressive first season. I can see him and Hazard forming a deadly combination on either flank that’ll leave opposition full backs on the back foot all game.
Eden Hazard – The young Belgian attacking midfielder was voted Chelsea’s Player of the Season last year by the fans for his consistently world-class displays. He is still only 23 but is undoubtedly one of the first names on the team sheet for Mourinho and will be instrumental in how well Chelsea do this season.
Felipe Luiz – 28 year old defender, signed for £15.8 million from Atletico Madrid
Cesc Fabregas – 27 year old midfielder, signed for £27 million from Barcelona
Diego Costa – 25 year old striker, signed for £32 million from Atletico Madrid
Didier Drogba – 36 year old striker, signed for free from Galatasaray
Areas to improve:
It was very clear last year what the issue was for Chelsea with Mourinho publicly criticising his forwards for not delivering the goals expected of them. With Demba Ba and Lukaku now sold, Eto’o a free agent and Torres looking like he’s free to leave, a new forward clearly needs to be purchased, one that would make an instant impact. Diego Costa looks to be that chosen striker by Mourinho, but I’m not sure if he’s the right choice personally. He had an outstanding season for Atletico last year, sure, however that was his first that was so prolific. The returning club legend, Didier Drogba, will certainly still be capable of impacting games, although I imagine most appearances will be most likely from off the bench. I therefore think that another top striker is required for Chelsea, regardless of whether Torres leaves or not, or else if Diego Costa fails to find his feet at the club, then there will be a similar situation to last season, and it may cost Chelsea the title.
I think that for a club as big as Chelsea the minimum expectation will be to win the title, anything less a disappointment. The chairman, Roman Abramovich, is not known for his patience and will be expecting results this season from Mourinho – especially with his spending so far this window. The title race last season was very dramatic and engaging throughout, and I can see it being perhaps even more so this year, with additional contenders in the mix. However I still think that Chelsea fans will be downhearted if it is another trophyless season, with the quality available throughout their team. There will be additional pressure to do well in the cup competitions as well after being knocked out of the League Cup and FA Cup in the fifth rounds last year. It will be difficult to build on last season’s performance in the Champions League as I’d say that was possibly the highlight of last season – reaching a very respectable Semi-Final – especially with the strengthening taking place in several European heavyweights. Will Chelsea perform to the high standards asked of them? Well I think that having Mourinho as your manager certainly helps, and I’d personally slightly edge them over Man City to be champions this year.