The Build Up:
After a disappointing season where Chelsea could’ve won 7 trophies, they only got the solitary piece of silverware, that too, of the unfancied Europa League. It was a season of ups and downs, where Chelsea signed some brilliant players like Oscar and Hazard, while they also bid adieu to club legend, Didier Drogba.
A 3rd place finish in the Premier League wasn’t bad but it was way below the expectations from a squad that boasts of such quality.
While that season is done and dusted, the new season is beckoning upon us. It’s a new beginning, which would be marked by the start of Jose Mourinho’s second era as a Chelsea manager.
He has started his second stint by signing the highly rated André Schürrle from Bayern Leverkusen, at a pretty reasonable price of £18 million. He’s also bolstered the midfield, with young Marko van Ginkel coming in from Vitesse for a paltry £8 million. Chelsea have also made Mark Schwarzer part of the blue brigade, which is sure to provide good cover in case Petr Cech falls victim to an injury. Kevin De Bryune, who spent the whole of last season on loan at Werder Bremen, makes his way back to Stamford Bridge on the back of an impressive season away from home.
With the Transfer Window still open, it is expected that Mourinho will sign a striker, Wayne Rooney being the media favourite to get the gig.
This season brings new hope with a team that seems to have found the perfect blend of youth and experience. Chelsea will be playing for 5 trophies this season, and are expected to challenge on all fronts, especially judging by the resources at their disposal.
Chelsea have wrapped up their pre-season friendly games in emphatic fashion, winning all but one fixture. Ironically, the only game they lost was against Mourinho’s former employers, Real Madrid.
Chelsea start their Premier League campaign against Hull City on the 18th of August. This should be an easy outing for the Blues, with the first real test coming when they face Manchester United at Old Trafford on the 26th of August.
The game would be important for both teams and if Chelsea can come out with 3 points, they’d set an early alarm bell for the other teams. Although Manchester United went on to win the league last year, I believe that Chelsea’s biggest title rivals would be Manchester City.
City hired Manuel Pellegrini this season, following theexit of Roberto Mancini, who didn’t have any trophies to show for a season full of struggle. Pellegrini has worked hard on his squad as well as strengthening it with the addition of some quality players like Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic. Plus, with players like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Joe Hart already at the club, they are close to the most complete side in the league.
Chelsea would do well to keep an eye out on arch rivals Arsenal, as well as Tottenham, only if they can hang on to Gareth Bale.
Chelsea’s main concern over the past few years in the Premier League has been their lack of consistency. Since the 2009-10 season, Chelsea has finished 2nd, 6th and 3rd in the following seasons, respectively.
I believe that Mourinho will provide consistency to this side, mainly through his work ethic and approach towards the game.
Although he’s often been brandished as a defensive manager, I’d take a 1-0 over a 4-4 any day of the week, as would any other Chelsea supporter.
Dropping cheap points from winning positions has been Chelsea’s story for quite a while now, but all of that should change under the Portuguese maestro. With him at the helm, a real title challenge is on the cards.
Possible Starting Line-Up:
Petr Cech (GK)
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) David Luiz(CB) Branislav Ivanovic (CB) Ashley Cole (LB)
Ramires (CM) Frank Lampard (CM)
Kevin De Bruyne/Oscar (RW) Juan Mata (CAM) Eden Hazard (LW)
Fernando Torres (ST)
The UEFA Champions League:
Disappointment, huge disappointment. That’s probably the best way to sum up Chelsea’s last Champions League campaign. After winning their first Champions League and creating history on the 19th of May in the preceding year, Chelsea were shown the exit door during the group stages of the most recent edition of the Champions League.
It was an embarrassment for the former European Champions.
However, a season of hard work in the Premier League, under estranged manager, Rafa Benitez, means that they’re back to contest for Europe’s most prestigious prize. Chelsea has a more than decent squad to compete in the Champions League and I would expect them to make it to the semi finals at the very least.Although the Champions League always seems to bring out a case of rotten eggs for Chelsea.
With things often going against them at key moments, ‘The Special One, a two times Champions league winner with Inter and Porto, would want to create history and become the first manager to win the Holy Grail with 3 different teams. This side certainly has the potential to create history.
The FA Cup and The League Cup:
Luck is the most important factor in domestic cups, as we see many upsets every year in the FA Cup as well as the League Cup.
Chelsea have shown some real bottle in recent years in this competition, winning 4 of the last 7 FA Cups, which really is a remarkable feat. FA cup is the only trophy amongst the 3 in England that Mourinho has only won once, so he’ll be eager to put his hands on this trophy for a second time, as he’s unmistakably greedy for silverware.
The League Cup hasn’t been one of Chelsea’s favoured tournaments, with the focus often on giving fringe players a decent run. However, the might of the team at this moment means that even a second-string Chelsea squad would be able to give most of the others a run for their money!
I expect Chelsea to at least win 2 trophies’s this season, if not more. The Premier League should be Chelsea’s priority, in order to end a 3 year drought. Winning the Champions League would be special, but honestly speaking, it seems a bit unlikely, with Mourinho only just settling back into life in English football. However, anything less than a semi-final exit would be disappointing.
Out of the two Domestic Cups, Chelsea nearly have their names etched on the FA Cup already!
The European Super Cup, which will be played between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, will be a footballing feast. The odds will favour Bayern, but it never killed anyone to be optimistic, right?
If even half of my predictions go right, Mourinho might make it through the season without losing his job!