Chelsea had a very poor campaign last time out in the Premier League. Not only they failed to defend their title (2014-15 Premier League), but also they were lower portion of the bottom half in the better part of the season. They ultimately finished in tenth position. Their beloved manager Jose Mourinho was sacked midway through the season.
Last season’s position: 10th
Manager: Antonio Conte
Major arrivals: Mitchy Batshuayi, N’Golo Kante
Major departures: Radamel Falcao (End of loan), Alexandre Pato(End of loan), Mohamed Salah
Chelsea start the new season under new boss Antonio Conte leaving all the misery behind. But are they capable of regaining their crown? Is there squad good enough? Are they lacking something? Let’s have a closer look of their teams, transfers and possibilities.
Let’s start with the manager. Antonio Conte is renowned as a tactical genius. He has a decade of experience in Italian football. Under him, Bari and Siena got promotion, but his best time was at Juventus, undoubtedly. In three years there, he won three league titles. He won a lot of individual awards in this meantime. Then he took charge of Italy in 2014 and led them to Euro quarterfinals. He looks fairly successful. He is famous for his unorthodox formation and style of play. He often plays in 3-5-2 formation which changes to 5-3-2 when needed. He is also famous for some unusual formations 4-2-4, 3-3-4. But, his team guarantees pace and work-rate. He is fond of both direct attacking style and counterattacking but his main preference lies in his defensive stability.
Chelsea’s main concern in the last season was their defence. There is no defensive recruitment as yet, but the arrival of N’Golo Kante will give them a stability in the defence. Kante was one of key men of Leicester’s fairytale title and his inclusion along with Matic will give Chelsea a dependable central midfield. Michy Batshuayi is another welcome arrival. Romelu Lukaku is rumored to back to replace Costa. Otherwise, there will be Batshuayi-Costa partnership upfront as Conte prefer two-man forward lineup.
Along with Kante and Matic, there will be Hazard, Fabregas and last year’s best performer Willian in the midfield. Hazard showed lots of glimpses that he is getting back to his best and it is a major concern for other teams. Last year, those were really missing. Oscar, Pedro, Mikel, Traore, Cuadrado are also there to support in the midfield.
Defence is still not in the best shape yet, but one or two new players are expected to come. Still, there are Azpilicueta, Zouma, Cahill and the experience of Terry and Ivanovic and young Miazga. If Conte uses two wingbacks Azpilicueta and Cuardado are best for this position, Zouma and Cahill will be in center of defence. And their defence is well backed up by goalkeeper Courtois, with Begovic as a back-up option.
What is the concern then for Chelsea? They don’t have a proper backup if the forward line is considered. And, defensive problems are not yet properly solved. Terry and Ivanovic did not perform well last season. Still, no replacement is there. They are probably one right-back and one center-back away from a proper team. Still, a lot of time is left in the transfer window. Some players can still come.
Then what should Chelsea fan expect from this season’s Premier League. There are a lot of good players and game changers along with a very tactical manager. 3-5-2 is not widely regarded as the best formation in the Premier League. The pre-season of Chelsea is showing that they are playing with four backs. That is a good sign and if the players can adopt the new style of Conte, then they are a serious title contender. All teams are getting stronger in the Premier League. The competition becomes immensely tough. But, lack of European football may prove to be a blessing in disguise for Chelsea. It is difficult to say if they can regain their Championships but they can easily be in top four under new manager.
What do you think about Chelsea this season? Let us know in the comments.