There is only a month to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Chelsea.
Chelsea were reunited with outspoken manager Jose Mourinho last season and finished 3rd in what was generally a disappointing campaign. Mourinho insisted that his young side was a work in progress so this is the season they will expect to be judged. Their major opposition for Premier League glory comes from fellow big-spenders Manchester City but Chelsea will be confident of pushing them all the way.
Does Mourinho need an introduction? He is one of the most successful bosses in football history and is still at a young enough age to establish himself as the greatest manager of all time. When Mourinho originally arrived at Chelsea he heralded himself as “the Special One” and proceeded to win them their first Premier League title. He presided over the most successful period in the club’s history before falling out with Roman Abramovich, the owner, and moving on. He has since managed Inter Milan and Real Madrid before returning in an attempt to guide Chelsea to further glory.
Chelsea have already been busy this transfer window and have made some major signings. So big, in fact, that it difficult to determine which one is the biggest. It’s largely a tossup between the signings of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas who both cost around £30 million. Mourinho has also splashed big money on left-back Filipe Luis who will cost roughly £20 million. Although not officially a new signing, Thibault Courtois has also returned from loan and is another boost to Chelsea’s already talented squad.
Who is tipped to join them?
Chelsea are linked with hundreds of players every window due to Abramovich’s vast fortune so it is difficult to sift through genuine rumours. Names that are continuously linked are the likes of Sami Khedira, Edison Cavani and Paul Pogba. Interestingly, Champions League hero Didier Drogba has also been linked with a move back to the club as a back up striker for Diego Costa combined with a coaching role.
Who should they sign?
Chelsea are in the very comfortable position of not really needing to sign anyone. Having said that, Mourinho is not keen on the striking options available to him, Diego Costa aside, and he will be looking to bring in a secondary option. He is trying to rid himself of the likes of Torres and Ba and, with Eto’o having already been released, it is likely he will want one more forward. Drogba has been mentioned but may be past his best to be seriously challenging for first team football. The most sensible option would be to allow Romelu Lukaku the opportunity to stake his claim at the club but should Mourinho remain undecided on him, Wilfried Bony could be an option.
Eden Hazard. He enjoyed a wonderful campaign last season and will be fully expected to do the same again this time. Often he was looking to inspire an unbalanced side with a lack of cutting edge but this season, with the improved quality up front, he should be part of a more menacing attack. Hazard is one of the most skilful players in the league and a fullback’s worst nightmare when he’s running at them.
Make no mistake about it; this is a very strong Chelsea side and one that will most likely win the league this season. They have added wisely to their squad early and will therefore get a long preseason behind them with all their playing staff together. Mourinho seems prepared and to have a best team in mind, which wasn’t always the case last season. Players like Ivanovic and Azpilicueta are useful to offer cover anywhere across the back four and there are quality options throughout the squad. Although Manchester City will be a force to be reckoned with, I think Chelsea have enough about them to emerge victorious this season. Expect Chelsea to finish 1st.