Is Chelsea Good Enough For A Top Four Finish This Season?
Chelsea are coming off their worst season in the Abramovich era, and the worst title defense in the Premier League era. Last season was woefully average for them, and Chelsea isn’t supposed to be an average team. So can Chelsea rebound from last season and make it into the top 4?
A new manager, brings new players and a new philosophy. This preseason we have seen glimpses into both of these. Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante have both been on the pitch this preseason, and both look healthy and ready for the season. Antonio Conte’s philosophy seems to be coming along too, with some impressive performances to show.
With all these changes surrounding Chelsea, the Chelsea board and supporters need to be patient and allow Conte to do what he does best. And that is creating a winning mentality and a team that works hard for each other to win at all cost. Much like Chelsea in Jose Mourinho’s first two seasons in his second stint with the club. They were fighters till the final whistle; we lost that attitude last season for whatever reason.
With Conte bringing the fighting spirit back, impressive signings and fringe players making a huge impression this preseason, it’s safe to say that Chelsea is on the right track. They have dynamic goal scoring wingers, powerful forwards and probably the best mix of midfielders in the Premier League now. To say that Chelsea don’t have the potential to make a top 4 finish is doing them a disservice, and most would agree that they do have a serious chance.
Where Chelsea’s squad needs depth and reform is their defense. Older with each passing year, and slower, the Chelsea back line is dated and needing a change. Ivanovic has shown last season that he doesn’t have the pace anymore to cover the right back position. Although Chelsea look covered in the RB department, with Azpilicueta naturally a RB and Ola Aina impressing in that position during the preseason.
Chelsea are missing out on a first team “Natural” Left Back. Because of Aina’s form and Baba Rahman’s inability to defend to Conte’s standard, we have seen our only natural LB leave on loan. Leaving some to wonder if we will be looking to bring another in, or continue with Dave operating out of his preferred position for another season.
Not only that, the Center Back issue become more apparent each season. Last season we saw Zouma claim the first team spot over Gary Cahill, were he covered for John Terry’s lack of pace very well. This season we won’t be able to start with Zouma as he is still recovering from a torn ACL. So that leaves Chelsea with the dated partnership of Cahill and Terry. This partnership has performed well in past seasons, but Chelsea is doomed for another mediocre season if this ends up being the main partnership.
Chelsea need to sign a ball playing center back of first team quality. With this signing, Chelsea can claim their rightful spot among England’s elite.