Premier League 2014/15: Chelsea season preview

There’s a sense that everything is falling into place for Chelsea this season. Problem areas that prevented a trophy last season have been addressed, the squad has been trimmed and most bookies are again making Chelsea favourites for the Premier League crown.

Saying goodbye to long-serving players Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole was hard, but the time was right. Selling Romelu Lukaku and David Luiz may not have been ideal in every Chelsea fan’s opinion, but the money gained from those bits of business has been well invested.

And then there’s King Didier being reunited with mentor Mourinho. Drogba appeared to end his Chelsea career in fairytale fashion when he scored the equaliser and won a penalty on that Champions League final night in Munich, bowing out after eight years of fantastic service to the club. After spending time in China and Turkey, the lure of returning to Chelsea under Mourinho with the opportunity to further cement himself as a club legend proved too much.

Like an extended version of a film, Chelsea’s 2014/15 season is set to be bigger, better and full of even more special moments than last time and here’s why.

Transfers

Chelsea got their man in Diego Costa who, if his pre-season form is anything to go by, will hammer in the goals the team lacked last year. Adding Cesc Fabregas as a replacement for the departed Frank Lampard is another great move and Filipe Luis was superb for Atletico Madrid last season and is a fine addition to the squad.

Drogba returning for free should provide plenty of influence and leadership in the changing room along with impact off the bench. All four ‘new’ signings at Chelsea this season have a clear role to play in the coming year and undoubtedly make for a stronger squad.

Pre-season

Pre-season friendlies are a time for clubs to experiment and allow every player a chance to prove their worth, which is what Chelsea have done, so there’s little point reading too much into the results especially as they didn’t come up against the strongest opposition. Having said that, there are plenty of positives the team can take from them.

Diego Costa’s four goals, including a dazzling solo effort against Fenerbahce, will build the confidence he needs to have a huge impact this season. 

Youngsters Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake got good run outs and Fabregas and Mohamed Salad grabbed a couple of goals too. Meanwhile, both Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois were given an equal amount of playing time as Mourinho works out who will be his number one.

Big Games To Look Forward To

As always, games against fellow title contenders such as Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are always tasty affairs. The showdown with Manchester City has the added interest of seeing whether Frank Lampard will make an appearance as well as being a possible title decider.

Juan Mata, Daniel Sturridge and especially Romelu Lukaku will all want to get one over on Chelsea when Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton visit Stamford Bridge. On the other hand, Cesc Fabregas will relish the opportunity to put a few past his old club Arsenal in one of many London derbies.

Predictions

Chelsea now have that striker Mourinho wanted, along with two brilliant holding midfielders in Matic and Fabregas, two world-class goalkeepers and have hung onto last season’s stars in Eden Hazard and Oscar as well as strengthening the defence.

Managerial stability is also on the horizon as Mourinho starts the second season of his second term and he and his team will be hungry for at least one trophy after last season’s empty hands.

As long as there are no major injuries or drops in form, then there’s no reason why Chelsea can’t win their third league title under Mourinho, the FA Cup and at least make the last four of the Champions League (Real Madrid and maybe Bayern Munich could prove too strong).

A title-deciding late Drogba strike would be the icing on the cake, but that could be being too greedy.

Prediction: First in the league, the FA Cup trophy and Champions League semi-finals.

By Graham Matthews, FTBpro.com Chelsea fan

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