Of all the ‘Big 4’ clubs, the season ahead should be most interesting for Chelsea. After all, they’ve got a new coach in Big Phil Scholari and it looks like they will also have a new-look squad as well. But can Roman’s Blue Army continue to compete at the very top?
As I write this article, no major names have exited Stamford Bridge but the likes of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba might well end up somewhere else come the start of the season which would be a tremendous blow to Chelsea. These two players have been central to their success over recent seasons and keeping them would represent more of a coup than bringing in any of the global superstars Chelsea have been linked with. The reason is that they’re already tried and tested in the squad and in the Premiership and you know that they will do the business over the course of a season.
Last season saw some notable flops at Chelsea, most notably Florent Malouda who came in from Lyon and never really hit the heights that were expected of him. If you consider he was supposed to be a replacement for Arjen Robben, then it further highlights how disappointing Malouda actually was. A big plus for Chelsea though was the emergeance of Micheal Ballack as a true Premiership star. His first season was a let down with so many fans expecting big things from the German skipper, but particularly towards the end of last season he showed himself to be one of the top players in the league. If Chelsea can get a good season out of him, then it will make all the difference to their success.
Who do Chelsea need to bring in? Well, if they lose Drogba then they certainly need a forward to lead the line. It is possible that Chelsea could revert to a 4-4-2 system for the first time in many years if Big Phil does play the kind of attacking football we expect him to. If this is the case then two big name forwards might well be required depending on whether Anelka is up to the job. Deco is a name that has been heavily linked to Chelsea and his arrival would be a great coup for both Chelsea and the Premiership.
As much as I can see Chelsea football shirts regaining the gold Premiership badge by making the right signings and landing on their feet this year, I can also invisage them getting it totally wrong and slipping down the Premiership pecking order. If I had to make a prediction, I’d say they’ll finish third or fourth in the Premiership, but make a big impact on the European stage. However, I’m fully prepared to be wrong on this one.