It Chelsea has made quite a buzz throughout the transfer window by singing as many as 6 players already. There are talks of further reinforcement in other positions as well. In this article, I will talk about what I expect from Chelsea this season. First, let’s start with the players.

Goalkeepers:

  • Kepa Arrizabalaga
  • Willy Caballero

Currently, we have just two senior keepers in our ranks and both of them have simply not proved themselves to be good enough to be the number 1 for our club. There are talks of bringing in a new player in this position with names like Onana, Oblak, Pope, Maignan, Mendy and Arleola being linked to the club.

It does not seem like Chelsea is going to splash crazy cash in the Goalkeeper position for players like Oblak or Onana. We have been seriously linked with Mendy. By the look of things, it seems like Kepa is going to get a second chance despite having a horrendous campaign between the sticks.

It would be great for the club for Kepa and a new GK to fight for the number one spot and we can hope that both of them would elevate their games and win us some matches with their saves. Caballero seems to have been dropped to number 3 on the pecking order.

Right Back

  • Cesar Azpilicueta
  • Reece James

Cesar Azpilicueta has been at our club for a long time and is already a legend of this club. He has played in multiple positions throughout his Chelsea career and has given us a lot of memorable and consistent performance. Despite him starting the season slowly, he bounced back and was one of our players of the season.

Reece James had a decent breakthrough season at Chelsea and seems to be the one that Chelsea will rely on for the next decade. He has got great strength, good passing, and great ability to find his man from the crosses. We can expect Reece to get more chances as the season progresses with Azpilicueta already in the wrong side of 30.

Centre Back

  • Thiago Silva
  • Kurt Zouma
  • Antonio Rudiger
  • Andreas Christensen
  • Fikayo Tomori

This position was sort of an Achilles heel for us last season with Frank Lampard struggling to find his preferred centre-back pairing. All of our options showed flashes of quality but showed a lot of inconsistency. Most of this problem can be put down to the lack of leadership along the backline. In steps, Thiago Silva, a proven centre-back who has been playing at a very high level for more than a decade. Silva is definitely going to a leader of this defence and provide us with solidity across the backline.

Kurt Zouma was the best among our options from last season. He would be an ideal partner for Thiago Silva in defence as their skill set compliment each other well. While Zouma struggles with his positioning, he possesses the aerial ability and pace to cover Thiago Silva in the defence.

Antonio Rudiger was supposed to be our leader of the defence last season but he disappointed the most. Being an experienced head, he let us down on numerous occasions with his moment of madness. His injury problems also didn’t help matters. He will definitely give Kurt Zouma a run for his money in that starting berth if he rediscovers the form that made Chelsea fork out a huge sum to get him from Roma.

Andreas Christensen spent two seasons in Bundesliga on loan where he was considered to be one of the best young players in this position. Despite showing a lot of promise, he has struggled to cope with the physical demand of the premier league. At 24 years old, time is running out for him to prove that he can still be an integral part of Chelsea defence.

Fikayo Tomori climbed his way to the top of the pecking list during the initial phase of the season. But due to injury and loss of form, he did not feature as prominently during the second half of the season. With more senior partner vying for the starting spot, it would be ideal if he could get a loan to another club where he can play regularly and develop his game. Definitely one for the future.

We have other players like Ethan Ampadu, Malang Sarr, Jake Clarke-Salter, Marc Guehi and many more in the academy who have shown a lot of promise during their short career. I expect most of these to either go out on loan or spend the season with the development squad. Ethan Ampadu, however, has shown an interest to stay back and fight for his spot in the first team.

Left Back

  • Ben Chilwell
  • Marcos Alonso
  • Emerson Palmieri

Left Back was another position that Frank Lampard wanted to strengthen this summer. Lampard was worried that he only had two wing-backs but no left-back in his squad. Chelsea has gone out and purchased one of the best Left-backs in the league from Leicester City, Ben Chilwell is expected to an integral part of our squad for the upcoming season.

Marcos Alonso, although not quite good as LB, is still one the best wing-backs in the world. He can prove to be an able deputy for Chilwell and also be the first choice option at the left of the defence should Lampard decide to play 3 at the back.

Other left-back options like Emerson Palmieri and Baba Rahman are expected to be sold this summer while youngsters like Ian Maatsen and Juan Castillo might be loaned out to get first-team experience.

Defensive Midfield

  • N’Golo Kante
  • Jorginho
  • Mateo Kovacic
  • Billy Gilmour

Despite us being spoilt for choices in this position, none of the players has staked their claim to be the outright first choice. N’Golo Kante, considered by many to be the best defensive mid, had a season troubled by injury and missed 50% of our matches last season. It is also worth noting that Kante has never played at his position in his career. He will definitely be the first choice at the base of the midfield but has to be more intelligent about using his energy to protect the defence rather than press the opponents.

Jorginho, arguably the best regista in world football, seems to be the victim of a formation switch by the manager. Neither good as a defensive midfielder to protect the defence or be a creative presence in one of the attacking 8’s, he is too good of a player to constantly be on the bench. It would be best for both the player and the club to part ways and have a successful future.

Mateo Kovacic was the first singing of the Frank Lampard era and has been the player of the season for 2019/20. An excellent dribbler and press resistant, capable of progressing the ball through the middle of the park, he still needs to work on his end product. I expect him to switch with one of the attacking 8’s depending on the quality and playing style of the opposition throughout the season.

Back to back man-of-the-match performance before lockdown made Billy Gilmour the centre of discussion among the Chelsea fanbase. However, an injury sustained after the restart has him sidelined for the start of this season. Capable of playing in any position across the midfield 3, he can be a great asset for the upcoming season.

Ethan Ampadu is also capable of playing in this position and with talks of the arrival of Declan Rice, Frank Lampard may have a selection headache at this position. Good for the club nevertheless.

Attacking Midfield

  • Mason Mount
  • Kai Havertz
  • Ruben Loftus Cheek
  • Ross Barkley

Mason Mount was arguably the standout player who made the first team after graduating from the academy. Playing more than 50 games in several positions across the midfield and forward lines, he has proven his versatility and effectiveness for the club. With new quality additions across the team and one more year of experience at the top flight, he will definitely improve this season.

An exciting new addition to the squad and one the best young talent, Kai Havertz, will definitely be one of the first names and a creative as well as goal scoring presence in the team. He might be the focal point of connecting our midfield with attack and finishing some chances on his own too.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s career has been hampered with injuries. Coming back from a potentially career-ending injury, he has been slowly integrating into the team. If he rediscovers his form under Sarri, then Chelsea will have another midfield who can progress the ball, create and score. This season is likely to be a make or break season for RLC.

Ross Barkley was favoured by Frank Lampard post-restart as one of the creative presence. He is highly rated by our boss but the arrival of Kai Havertz and the presence of other options can decrease his game time. He is a player who can make a difference. Chelsea may opt to keep him for squad depth or cash him in to generate funds to balance the books.

Mateo Kovacic can be one option in this position too. Conor Gallagher is expected to depart on loan and Tino Anjorin and Lewis Bate from the academy may be given a run in cup games. Other options like Marco Van Ginkel and Lewis Baker are expected to depart the club as well.

Wingers

  • Christian Pulisic
  • Hakim Ziyech
  • Callum Hudson-Odoi

Another bright spot of the previous campaign was the emergence of Christian Pulisic as a goalscoring winger. Already compared with Eden Hazard, Pulisic has delivered goals and assist in his first season despite struggling with injuries. He is certainly not an Eden Hazard by any means, but if he can put behind his injury troubles he will definitely create his own legacy at Stamford Bridge.

Hakim Ziyech was bought back in February and has been training with the first-team for a long time. Having already featured in a friendly game, his qualities are obvious. A brilliant creator from the right side, he has a magical left foot that can whip in accurate crosses, play long passes and score some long-range goals too. Exactly the type of player Chelsea has been missing since the days of Robben.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is another academy product that has been tipped with a great future. Like RLC, he also recovered from an injury and was impressive in the latter stages of the previous season. Capable of dribbling past the defenders and delivering crosses or shooting for goal, this is likely to be a huge season for CHO. Chelsea has put in immense faith in CHO by rejecting the advances of Bayern Munich the last summer and not investing in another winger this season.

Strikers

  • Timo Werner
  • Tammy Abraham
  • Olivier Giroud

Chelsea has been guilty of missing far too many chances the last season. To solve the issue, we have gone to get one of the top strikers, Timo Werner. Werner scored a total of 34 goals last season across all competition and was second top scorer behind Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga. He is capable of playing down the left-wing or through the middle and is expected to score a lot of goals this season.

Our top scorer from the last season, our very own Tammy Abraham, he will still play a huge role this season. Likely to play second fiddle to Timo Werner, he would still get his chances throughout the season. I expect him to better his goal tally from last season with a lot of creative players around him.

Olivier Giroud was one of the best players post-restart and effectively scored every other game to propel us to the Top 4. He won’t be getting a lot of game-time but will be a valuable member of the squad due to his experience. If needed, he is more than able goalscorer in his own right.

Michy Batsuiyai is another striker in our books but I fully expect him to leave the club this summer.

 

Written by Gaurav Sapkota (twitter: @GauravSapkota1)

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