Premier League 2017/18 Preview – Chelsea

chelsea

Image: Premier League

Chelsea’s dominance last season was not predicted by many, but the real test will be whether their squad can maintain a title push whilst also challenging in Europe. The main problem that Chelsea face is the expected loss of Diego Costa. Conte has replaced him, with Alvaro Morata coming in for £70m. Morata averaged a goal every 88 minutes last season for Real Madrid, but whether he can adapt to the Premier League straight away and replace the presence that Costa brought to the team. Michy Batshuayi will hope to get a chance to prove himself in Costa’s absence, after scoring 5 goals in just 239 minutes of game time last season. The Blues have also splashed out on Antonio Rudiger, providing them with a natural centre-back, rather than having to play full-back Cesar Azpilicueta as a part of the back three. Tiemoue Bakayoko has arrived from Monaco as an upgrade on Nemanja Matic, who has left for Manchester United, and support for N’golo Kante. Chelsea’s new signings will have to bed in quickly, as they face European-chasing rivals Tottenham, Everton, Arsenal and Manchester City before the end of September.

Key Player: Eden Hazard. The Belgian was Chelsea’s stand out player last season, contributing 16 goals and 5 assists. This was a huge improvement on his 2015/16 season, and Hazard will again be key to Chelsea retaining their title. With Morata being less of a complete forward than Costa, Hazard’s creativity will be relied upon to maintain Chelsea’s goals.

One to Watch: Andreas Christensen. It’s hard to pin-point a player to watch for Chelsea, as most of these are out on loan across Europe. But Andreas Christensen may be given a chance this season after impressing on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach. With Kurt Zouma heading out on loan, Christensen could offer the rotation option as a part of the back three. The 21-year-old has experience of playing in Europe so should not look out of his depth when given a chance.

Last Season: 1st

Predicted Finish: 2nd

Advertisements

Premier League 2016/17 Preview – Chelsea

conte_chelsea

Antonio Conte was widely praised for his overachievement with a weak Italian side at Euro 2016. Image: Sky Sports

After last season’s horror show, Chelsea will be looking to strike back. They have recruited arguably the best manager at EURO 2016 in the form of Antonio Conte, and have seen Premier League champion N’Golo Kante and Marseille top scorer Michy Batshuayi join the club. Conte’s arrival will return Chelsea to a team that is hard to beat, whilst, if pre-season is anything to go by, they are looking devastating in attack, scoring 13 goals in their six games. The Blues’ lack of European football could be an advantage in the title race, especially given their aging defence. Kurt Zouma will be looking to establish himself as John Terry’s long term replacement at centre back after injury hampered him last year. Scoring goals was not a problem for Chelsea last year, and Batshuayi’s arrival as well as the very public courting of former striker Romelu Lukaku suggests that the Blues will ruthless in attack. Chelsea face a relatively easy Christmas fixture list, so could really stake their claim for the title heading in to the New Year.

Key Man: Eden Hazard. The Belgian was an invisible man for much of last season, creating just four goals all season. Having reached double figures for goals and assists in the two seasons before last, the attacking midfielder is one of the best in the world on his day, and will be crucial if Chelsea are going to bounce back in to title contention.

One to Watch: Nathaniel Chalobah. After struggling to break in to the Napoli side last season, it seems that Chalobah will be staying at Stamford Bridge this season. Although there is fierce competition for places in defensive midfield this season, his work rate and versatility could see him breakthrough in the style that Ruben Loftus-Cheek did last year.

Last Season: 10th 

Prediction: 1st