Jose Mourinho’s insistence that Chelsea were not title contenders last season can surely not be said for the coming campaign. Chelsea go into the season having made some fantastic additions to their squad, more than making up for the departures of players such as Chelsea legends Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.
Diego Costa has looked in good shape in pre-season and what he will bring to the Chelsea side is precisely what the Blues missed last season; an athletic, aggressive and clinical striker. Diego Costa was deadly in front of goal for Atletico Madrid in the two previous seasons, and he has quickly become one of the very best strikers in world football. We should expect to see – injuries permitting – at least 12-15 league goals from the Spaniard.
Chelsea’s other Spanish signing, Cesc Fabregas, is a player who will be more than familiar to Premier League audiences. The former Arsenal captain was the pivotal and central figure in the Arsenal side in which he played, often carrying the team single-handily. He should have no trouble settling back into life in London, having spent nearly eight years there during his time at Arsenal. Furthermore, adapting to playing in the Premier League should be a seamless process. His creativity, eye for a pass and intelligence on the ball will give Chelsea the qualities they sometimes lacked last season. His class will make the players around him better also.
Young goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, will be playing his football at Chelsea for the first time since the Blues signed him from Genk, in 2011. Having spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, Courtois will feel like a new signing. It appears that the 22-year-old will replace Petr Cech as Chelsea’s number one. It is almost unarguable that he is the most promising goalkeeper in world football. It is an exciting prospect for all Blues fans to have the Belgian between the posts for the coming campaign.
French youngster Kurt Zouma is another player of much promise who will be playing his football at Stamford Bridge in the coming season. He was signed in January of this year, but spent the rest of the season on loan at the club Chelsea signed him from – St. Etienne. The 19 year-old was named by the Guardian as one of the ten most promising youngsters in world football in January. It will be interesting to see how Zouma develops and matures this season, defending with the likes of John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic.
Chelsea’s links with Atletico Madrid have gone even further with the signing of former Atletico left-back Filipe Luis from the La Liga holders. Whilst not a household name, he is certainly a solid, reliable defender whilst also offering an attacking option going forward. He should prove to be an astute signing from Mourinho.
Didier Drogba has been brought back to the club, and though the Ivorian is unlikely to replicate the football he did during his first spell at Chelsea, his experience will be invaluable, particularly for the youngsters at the club.
With the additions to the squad it is easy to forget the exceptional players who were already at the club. The likes of Oscar, Willian, Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Cesar Azpilicueta, Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic are all young players with wonderful ability. Furthermore, with the more experienced players such as John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Petr Cech, Ramires and Fernando Torres, the squad for the coming season is outstanding.
With the players Mourinho has at his disposal, Chelsea should be looking to challenge on all fronts for every competition they are competing in. They are the favourites for the Premier League with many bookies, and it is hard to disagree with this. Chelsea’s squad rivals any of the top European club’s and they should be among the favourites for the Champions League also.
Should Chelsea finish the season without a trophy it will be a season of failure, there should be no doubt about that. Mourinho is well aware of this and will be desperate to add some trophies to the haul Chelsea won during his first spell in West London. There can be no excuses for a second consecutive season without a trophy for Chelsea.
With all the fresh faces at Stamford Bridge, along with some familiar ones too, the coming campaign is sure to be an enthralling one for all Chelsea fans. Let’s just hope it proves to be a memorable one.