Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Chelsea’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.
Manager: Roberto Di Matteo.
Captain: John Terry.
Stadium: Stamford Bridge (42,055).
Last season: 6th.
Leading scorer (PL): Frank Lampard (11).
Odds: Title 9-2. Relegation 500-1.
In: Eden Hazard (£32.5m, Lille), Thorgan Hazard (£880k, Lens), Marko Marin (£8.6m, Werder Bremen), Oscar (£22m, Internacional).
Out: Patrick van Aanholt (Loan, Vitesse), Jose Bosingwa (Released), Kevin de Bruyne (Loan, Werder Bremen), Jeffrey Bruma (Loan, Hamburg), Ulises Davila (Loan, Sabadell), Matej Delac (Loan, Guimaraes), Didier Drogba (Free, Shanghai Shenhua), Ben Gordon (Loan, Birmingham), Tamas Kalas (Loan, Vitesse) Salomon Kalou (Free, Lille), Romelu Lukaku (Loan, West Brom).
Key Man – Fernando Torres
Didier Drogba’s departure has left a huge hole up front for Chelsea to fill. And who better to replace the strong, physical Ivorian than the Euro 2012 Golden Boot Winner? The Spaniard has proved that he is still a top finisher by scoring four goals in Poland/Ukraine last month, but can he continue the same goal-scoring form in the Premier Leagie this season is a big question. Torres’ mercurial feet and top-class finishing will play a massive role in Chelsea’s campaign and will decide whether the Blues are serious title contenders or just top four finishers.
19-Aug – Wigan (A)
22-Aug – Reading (H)
25-Aug – Newcastle (H)
15-Sep – QPR (A)
22-Sep – Stoke (H)
30-Sep – Arsenal (A)
Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Hazard, Mata; Torres.
Verdit: Despite winning the FA Cup and the coveted Champions League trophy, the new permanent boss Di Matteo will be expected to hit the ground running in the Premier League from the start. Failure to do so may test Roman Abramovich’s patience yet again. The Blues have boosted the squad by some heavy summer spending and are sure title contenders. I expect them to perform much better than last year but not enough to break the Manchester domination and finish in the top two.