Chelsea: Season Preview

Despite the excitement of seeing ‘The Special One’ Jose Mourinho return to the Premier League, it was a strangely unsuccessful campaign for the Chelsea football club. When looking back there were a number of occasions where unorthodox ‘park the bus’ football was put into operation. Nevertheless, the win against Liverpool at Anfield certainly defined the outcome of the season. But will Jose change his style this season?

Players Signed

Diego Costa and Felipe Luis – We all know the outstanding season that Atletico Madrid had last campaign and both Costa and Luis were both influential in helping the La Liga side take the Spanish title. Diego Costa netted 43 times in 94 appearances for Madrid, a record that any Premier League striker would be proud of. The Chelsea fans got a close look at Diego in the Champions League Semi-Final and would have witnessed him win and convert a penalty at Stamford Bridge in a 3-1 win to Madrid. Costa’s clinical finishing may be welcomed by Chelsea fans as constant goals from a forward has certainly been lacking at the club for a few seasons now. A great strike force always needs a great defence and Atletico certainly reaped the benefits of the Felipe Luis’s tireless efforts and outstanding defensive performances last season. The 28 year old certainly has experience playing in big games especially with the Champions League and successful title winning campaign last season. The Left Back is seemingly therefore the perfect replacement for the recently departed Ashley Cole to Roma.

Cesc Fabregas – With the constant rumours of Cesc Fabregas heading back to the Premier League, it was always Arsenal and Manchester United who were the bookies favourites. However, when Chelsea brought the former Gunners captain back to the capital it certainly raised a few eye brows, especially considering the amount of midfielders available at Chelsea as it is. At the Barcelona, Fabregas could very often rely on Sergio Busquets to do the majority of the ball winning allowing him to go forward alongside Iniesta and Xavi, but at Chelsea Fabregas may need to be much more physical. With the Gunners Fabregas was head of the set pieces and could always be relied upon to get some key goals, but every Arsenal fan knows that the Spaniards heart was back home in Spain and certainly his performances towards the end reflected this. But now he has moved away from his boyhood team, it is now time for Cesc Fabregas to step up the plate and show World football why they used to call him one of the best midfielders around.

Didier Drogba – The King returns! And even if he may have slowed up since leaving Chelsea, what an addition he will be to the squad. This isn’t to say he won’t be a prolific goal scorer as you certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he manages to notch 20 goals this season. Even if Drogba is the man who is brought on with ten minutes towards the end of the game to rescue it, the crowd will certainly be behind him and cheer his name. He will forever be known as the man who rescued and won the Champions League in 2012 against Bayern Munich…And In their own back garden! We all know what Drogba can offer to the squad, a deadly finish, fantastic strength but also can help lead a team, even if he isn’t the official captain. It will be interesting to see how he will play alongside Diego Costa up top, one thing is for sure, on paper, there will be a lot of goals being scored for the blues should these two be on form.

Key Players

Eden Hazard – Yet another exceptional player that Belgium have produced (their starting to make us look bad!) and what this player has is skill..And lots of it! His eye for goal and his link up play with the other attackers needs to remain on top form as fans will be relying on Eden Hazard to be influential in Chelsea’s title chase, especially with him scoring 17 times last season. You can’t deny that Hazards devotion to win is evident in every game he plays in, his footwork is simply outstanding but it is up to the other Chelsea players keep up with him, therefore Mr Mourinho surely cannot be reliant on ‘Park the bus’ football this season with so much attacking option up field.

Oscar – There were not many Brazilian footballers who could have come out of the World Cup with their head held high this summer, but in my opinion Oscar certainly can. If you look away from the thrashing from Germany Oscar never gave up, and even came up with a conciliation goal at the end of the match (that goal really hurt Germany even though they ran away with the game).  Once you give the Brazilian the ball he can produce top notch through balls that no one would have ever seen coming. Not only that but the young 22 year old can also contribute with the odd goal, scoring 12 goals for Chelsea so far. The midfield of Chelsea is certainly coming together with Hazard, Fabregas and Oscar frightening the opposition.

John Terry – I’ll hold my hand up, we missed a John Terry in defence this summer. I was certainly in favour of trying younger players in the England squad, but we could have almost definitely done with John Terry at that back. It certainly wouldn’t have made Gerrard think he needed to protect the back four as much as he did. If the Chelsea back four was being attacked by ‘Hannibal’s Alpine Army’ you could almost guarantee that Terry would be the first man to get stuck into them. His commitment is something you can never take away from the player. Terry is a natural leader and is still the man to lead Chelsea through thick and thin. If Chelsea are to succeed then they need to make sure they have a strong Captain and John Terry is still that man.

Diego Costa – If Diego Costa thought last season contained a huge amount of pressure then he has no idea what awaits him this season. Last year his 36 goals helped guide Atletico Madrid to the La Liga title and to the Champions League Final, this year there is certainly the pressure from the chairman to deliver both the title and the Champions League. Goals have certainly been lacking for Chelsea for the last year or two with Torres’s time at the club seemingly running out and Eto never really hit the ball rolling last season either. But if this is to be a new era at Stamford Bridge then Costa must continue his form from last season, I’m certainly looking forward to see what the Spanish International can do. Maybe, he might be the partner Fernando Torres has been dreaming about?

Can Chelsea win the title?

Of course Chelsea can win the title. Every year they are at least second favourites to take it. But what Chelsea need to do is learn from last season, they need to look back and understand why they didn’t win. Last year it was seemingly all men behind the ball in the big matches which is completely unorthodox for the ‘Special One’. This season Chelsea need to utilise the talent they have, it’s as simple as that. There could have been at least 10 other players that could have been mentioned in the ‘Key Players’ list because they have such a broad selection of talent. I think this season Mourinho needs to take a gamble, even if that does mean starting players such as ‘Schurlle’, who let’s not forget, was one of the best players at the World Cup this summer.

Will Moran

Twitter – @willpmoran

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