2019/20 Pre-Season Briefing: part one

With the start of the new Premier League season looming large, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton review the summer, analyse our tactics and squad for 2019/20, and begin by looking forward to life under returning Chelsea hero Frank Lampard...

It has been an emotional summer for Chelsea and the club’s followers: gone is Eden Hazard, the maestro who had us leaping from our seats, and home again is the legend who brought us many of the greatest moments in our history.

Hazard was a truly rare, thrilling player, of which SW6 has enjoyed more than its fair share: Hugh Gallacher, Charlie Cooke, Pat Nevin, Gianfranco Zola, and Arjen Robben.

We can argue, as some coaches have, that the Belgian’s defensive contribution was underwhelming, or he occasionally misplaced his mojo. But he contributed to 38 goals (17 assists) across 52 matches in all competitions last season, and the club’s highest current career goalscorer is now Willian, sitting at no.38 with 52, beneath inter-war star Jack Cock. Others now need to step up on those fronts.

    Read: Chelsea in the Premier League - stats and numbers from the past 27 seasons

The huge positives of the summer have been the return of a triumphantly ‘Chelsea’-looking coaching set-up led by Frank Lampard, the club’s all-time greatest marksman, and a squad refreshed with youngsters bursting with talent.

The fixtures present tantalising prospects for the exciting new set-up: first Old Trafford, where Lampard won during his time at Derby County, then Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup. The man who scored the goals that won us the Premier League, and who captained the Blues to glory in Munich and Amsterdam, now has the chance to lift silverware in his second competitive match as coach.

However, the first visitors in the league, Leicester, were the only opponents to take all three points away from the Fulham Road last season.

With Hazard gone, there is a situation vacant for the next wizard of the Bridge. The new arrival from Pennsylvania, USA, Christian Pulisic, certainly has the tricks while, for the first time in a few years, a batch of young magicians from our Academy could lay claim to the wand.

With a talented young squad, the departure of a legend, a coaching staff carved from Chelsea oak, the return of Champions League football, a two-window FIFA transfer embargo, it is a time of great prospects as well as challenges for the Europa League holders. Hopefully we are all ready for another adventure.


Stamford Bridge may have lost a prince this summer, but it has also witnessed the return of the kings: Petr Cech as technical advisor, Claude Makelele as an Academy mentor, key roles for Eddie Newton and Carlo Cudicini and, of course, Frank Lampard as head coach. Everyone wondered which hero of the stellar Roman Abramovich era would be first to make the switch from pitch to dugout – and now we know.

The former midfielder’s arrival has electrified fans, but he is under no illusions. There are, as he put it, ‘non-negotiables’ when taking the reins at the most successful club in English football over the past decade-and-a-half. As an icon of the club, though, he will ride a tidal wave of goodwill from fans, and the prospect of a spring charge for silverware with Lampard on the touchline is an exhilarating one.

Starting only his second year as a head coach, the club’s eighth permanent appointment since 2003 has alongside him ample experience, steeped in the club’s traditions.

Former Blues midfielder Jody Morris and Joe Edwards served the Academy for many years, nurturing our Under-18/19 sides to unprecedented success in English football history, while fellow assistant Eddie Newton helped coach the Londoners to FA Cup and Champions League glory in 2011/12. Coach Chris Jones is another familiar face making a return.

With the FIFA transfer ban in place, their presence will be vital in identifying any youngsters capable of excelling in the first team. There is a sense of planets aligning.

Lampard has already laid down what supporters can expect from his side: hard work, high energy, passion, and talent. And which footballer would not want to learn from one of the greatest ever midfielders?

There will be considerable new challenges for the newcomer to Premier League touchlines – not least becoming the first Chelsea boss to have to navigate a winter break in February. 

As gruelling as the Rams’ 57-match campaign must have felt at times last season, Chelsea played an even more attritional 63 at home and abroad, and under greater scrutiny. Although there are eight fewer matches in the top flight compared to the Championship (and that is excluding play-offs), the Blues will be have a minimum of six Champions League midweeks to embrace, as well as the Super Cup. 

Depending on the group stage draw, the standard of opposition in Europe’s elite competition could also provide less leeway for resting some regulars and providing minutes for others. He looks certain to take a meritocratic approach to the old guard as well as the young bucks, though, and an equal opportunities dressing room is a happy one.


During pre-season Lampard has promulgated a variety of formations, including 4-2-3-1, an asymmetrical 4-3-3, and 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield and two strikers.

Depending on personnel and line-up, Lampard’s Chelsea will maintain a high defensive line and high-pressing of opposition defences, sometimes sitting back and setting traps on opposition goal kicks. He aims for fluency and purpose in possession, hard work and teamwork without the ball.

There seems to be a renewed vigour to get behind opposition defences with long passes of the kind Ross Barkley and Pedro delivered to the impressive Pulisic in Salzburg.

One of the reasons Lampard became Chelsea’s leading all-time goalscorer was his astute opportunism, and he is encouraging the likes of Barkley and Mason Mount to take a chance when an opening arises.

Conceding goals on the road was an issue for the Blues last term, and pre-season has provided reminders that work remains to be done, especially on defending crosses and set-pieces into the box.

Still, some of the swift, progressive passing moves in pre-season have been exhilarating - reminiscent of great teams in which the coach himself played. Now comes the challenge of bringing that to a league in which the Blues finished 26 points behind the champions last season.


• The transfer window in England closes at 5pm tomorrow (Thursday 8 August) 
• Italy’s window closes on 18 August, while in France, Spain, and Germany transfers are open until 31 August

Chelsea’s sole brand new signing (completed before FIFA’s transfer embargo) was Christian Pulisic. His immensely impressive two-goals-and-an-assist performance in Austria – including one star-spangled banger – suggests the Pennsylvanian could hit the ground running on English soil. (Lest we forget, Hazard’s first strike from open play came in his twelfth competitive match for the Blues.)

The return of loanees such as Tammy Abraham, Michy Batshuayi, Kenedy, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, and Kurt Zouma, has refreshed the dynamics to the 2019/20 squad. Goalkeeper Jamie Cumming has also earned a step up to the senior team, and Mateo Kovacic’s loan was converted to a permanent deal.

Over the coming weeks, the injured Callum Hudson-Odoi, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Toni Rudiger will return to reinvigorate a squad that was already good enough to finish third in the Premier League and scoop the second biggest prize in Europe.

There are rejigged Premier League squad numbers, too, for Abraham (9), Andreas Christensen (4), James (24), Mount (19), Tomori (29) Willian (10), Zouma (15), and the incoming Pulisic (22).

1 Kepa Arrizabalaga
2 Antonio Rudiger
3 Marcos Alonso
4 Andreas Christensen
5 Jorginho
6 Danny Drinkwater
7 N’Golo Kante
8 Ross Barkley
9 Tammy Abraham
10 Willian
11 Pedro
12 Ruben Loftus-Cheek
13 Willy Caballero
14 Tiemoue Bakayoko
15 Kurt Zouma
16 Kenedy
17 Mateo Kovacic
18 Olivier Giroud
19 Mason Mount
20 Callum Hudson-Odoi
21 Davide Zappacosta
22 Christian Pulisic
23 Michy Batshuayi
24 Reece James
28 Cesar Azpilicueta
29 Fikayo Tomori
30 David Luiz
31 Jamie Cumming
33 Emerson


Maurizio Sarri departed for Juventus after one season at Stamford Bridge. He was in charge for 63 matches, winning 40 of them (63.5 per cent), drawing 11, and losing 12. He was the 11th Blues boss to achieve European Cup/Champions League qualification (after Ted Drake, Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafael Benitez, and Antonio Conte).

And with his Europa League triumph, the Italian is the latest member of a select band whose only career coaching honour came while at Chelsea. The others are Drake, Dave Sexton, Ruud Gullit, Vialli, and Di Matteo.

Mateo Kovacic - Real Madrid

Eden Hazard - Real Madrid
Gary Cahill - released, now Crystal Palace
Alvaro Morata - Atletico Madrid
Gonzalo Higuain - Juventus (loan return)
Robert Green - retired
Ola Aina - Torino
Tomas Kalas - Bristol City
Eduardo - released, now Braga
Victorien Angban - Metz
Marcin Bulka - released, now PSG
Joseph Colley - released
Bradley Collins - Barnsley
Jay Dasilva - Bristol City
Fankaty Dabo - released, now Coventry City
Daishawn Redan - Hertha Berlin
Kylian Hazard - Cercle Brugge
Kasey Palmer - Bristol City
Todd Kane - released, now QPR
Renedi Masampu - released
Josimar Quintero - released, now Espanyol B
Ruben Sammut - released, now Sunderland
Kyle Scott - released, now Newcastle
Martell Taylor-Crossdale - released, now Fulham
Jared Thompson - released

LOANS (All for the complete season unless stated)

Jake Clarke-Salter - Birmingham City
Conor Gallagher - Charlton Athletic
Matt Miazga - Reading
Dujon Sterling - Wigan Athletic

Richard Nartey - Burton Albion
Luke McCormick - Shrewsbury Town
Nathan Baxter - Ross County
Ethan Ampadu - RB Leipzig
Lewis Baker - Fortuna Dusseldorf
Mario Pasalic - Atalanta
Charly Musonda - Vitesse Arnhem
Ike Ugbo - Roda JC Kerkrade
Victor Moses - Fenerbahce
Nathan Atletico - Mineiro (1 Jan 2020)


Pre-season matches
The seven summer games took Chelsea to Ireland, Japan, Reading, Austria, and Germany.

10 Jul Bohemians Dalymount Park, Dublin D 1-1 3,640
13 Jul St Patrick’s Athletic Richmond Park, Dublin W 4-0 4,200
19 Jul Kawasaki Frontale Nissan Stadium, Yokohama L 0-1 61,012
23 Jul Barcelona Saitama Stadium, Saitama W 2-1 51,126
28 Jul Reading Madejski Stadium, Reading W 4-3 19,463
31 Jul RB Salzburg Red Bull Arena, Salzburg W 5-3 27,643
3 Aug B Monchengladbach Borussia Park, Monchengladbach D 2-2 24,500

Pre-season minutes (643 in total)
Thirty-six players were involved in the summer games.

Azpilicueta 426, Pedro 418, Zouma 414, Jorginho 384, Kovacic 367, Mount 326, Emerson 325, David Luiz 305, Abraham 293, Christensen 288, Barkley 287, Kenedy 282, Arrizabalaga 278, Pulisic 275, Caballero 246, Alonso 226, Batshuayi 222, Zappacosta 217, Bakayoko 196, Giroud 194, Tomori 153, Drinkwater 149, Cumming 119, Palmer 111, Gilmour 92, Baker 47, I Brown 47, Chalobah 47, Maatsen 47, Piazon 47, Ugbo 47, Ampadu 45, Gallagher 45, Guehi 45, Sterling 45, Kante 18.


Copa America winner
Willian (Brazil)

CONCACAF Gold Cup runners-up
Christian Pulisic, Matt Miazga (USA)

U17s UEFA Championship winner
Ian Maatsen (Netherlands U17s)


Player milestones

Cesar Azpilicueta  15 appearances to 250 in the Premier League
                                13 appearances to 350 in all competition
                                Two appearances to 50 in European competitions

Marcos Alonso     Five appearances to 100 in the Premier League

David Luiz             Two appearances to 250 in all competitions
                               Six appearances to 50 in European competitions

N’Golo Kante       Eight appearances to 150 in all competitions

Ruben Loftus-Cheek Four appearances to 50 in the Premier League

Antonio Rudiger     Eleven appearances to 100 in all competitions

Willian                Eight appearances to 300 in all competitions
                            Two appearances to 200 in the Premier League
                            One appearance to 50 in European competitions

Kurt Zouma             Three appearances to 50 in the Premier League

Danny Drinkwater  One appearance to 100 in Premier League career

N’Golo Kante          Eight appearances to 150 in Premier League career

Michy Batshuayi     Seven appearances to 50 in Premier League career

Club milestones

The second game against Arsenal will be our 200th against them in all competitions – the first time we will achieve this against any other club.

The second game against Manchester City will be our 150th in the league against them.

The second match against Burnley will be the 100th against the Clarets in all competitions.


• On 9 Aug 2019 it will be 10 years since Chelsea’s most recent Community Shield victory (9 Aug 2009)

• On 17 Aug 2019 it will be 45 years since Chelsea’s East Stand was officially opened for the visit of Carlisle United (17 Aug 1974)

• On 25 Aug 2019 it will be 35 years since Chelsea returned to Division One with a 1-1 draw away to Arsenal (25 Aug 1984)

• On 30 Aug 2019 it will be 100 years since Chelsea began the first Football League campaign after WW1 by beating pre-war champions Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park (30 Aug 1919)

• On 2 Sep 2019 it will be 80 years since WW2 forced the abandonment of the Football League season after three matches, Chelsea having lost 0-1 to Liverpool at Anfield that day (2 Sep 1939)

• On 15 Sep 2019 it will be 20 years since Chelsea’s first match in the Champions League proper, a home draw with Milan (15 Sep 1999)

• On 26 Nov 2019 it will be 25 years since the redeveloped North Stand (later renamed Matthew Harding) opened to spectators (26 Nov 1994)

• On 26 Dec 2019 it will be 20 years since Chelsea became the first English club to field an all-overseas XI in a 2-1 at Southampton (26 Dec 1999)

• On 7 Apr 2020 it will be 75 years since Chelsea beat Millwall 2-0 at Wembley to win the wartime Football League South Cup (7 Apr 1945)

• On 29 Apr 2020 it will be 50 years since Chelsea beat Leeds 2-1 to win the FA Cup for the first time (29 Apr 1970)

• On 9 May 2020 it will be 10 years since Chelsea thrashed Wigan by a record 8-0 to win the Premier League for the third time (9 May 2010)

• On 15 May 2020 it will be 10 years since Chelsea beat Portsmouth 1-0 in the FA Cup final to complete the club’s first Double (15 May 2010)

• On 20 May 2020 it will be 20 years since Chelsea beat Aston Villa 1-0 to lift the FA Cup for the third time (20 May 2000)


For the third season Chelsea’s strips are made by Nike, the club’s fifth different supplier over the past four decades. The white change kit is a nod to the ‘mod’ away strip worn in 1964.

Chelsea kit providers
Nike 2017-
Adidas 2006-17
Umbro 1987-2006
Chelsea Collection 1986/1987
Le Coq Sportif 1981-86
Umbro 1975-81

2019/20 is the fifth season of Yokohama’s sponsorship of the Chelsea kit, and the second with Hyundai on the left sleeve.

The ball used this season in the Premier League will be a Nike Merlin that is made up of four panels, primarily white with navy blue and pink details. As usual, a high-visibility yellow ball will be used in the winter months.