Chelsea stormed to the Premier League title last season with little threat but are set for a difficult defence of their crown; with Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all pushing to clinch glory in May, whilst others will want to beat the Champions.
It started in questionable fashion for Chelsea with a 2-2 draw at the weekend, where Thibaut Courtois was sent off, and the Blues didn’t look at their best. This follows a horrific pre-season campaign in which Jose Mourinho’s side didn’t record a single victory in 90 minutes.
With the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal followed by the draw with Swansea, there’s concerns ahead of the mammoth tie against Manchester City on Sunday. Whilst the Citizens will line-up with £49m Raheem Sterling, Chelsea have barely scratched the surface in the transfer market.
Just one permanent signing has been made thus far with Asmir Begovic coming in to replace Petr Cech, who joined Arsenal, whilst Radamel Falcao arrived on-loan, replacing Didier Drogba from last season’s title winning side.
Begovic will play second-fiddle to Courtois and it’s debatable whether he is an upgrade on Cech. With 333 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, Cech knows the league inside out and was a top-performer for years with the Blues. Meanwhile, Begovic impressed with Stoke- but was never snapped up by a bigger side, until now.
Meanwhile, it’s well documented that Falcao scored just four goals during his awful season on-loan with Manchester United last term and in comparison, Drogba scored exactly the same amount- but Falcao was considered first-team at United, whereas Drogba was aback-up.
It’s worth mentioning that Chelsea are heavily linked to an imminent signing, FC Augburg’s Baba Rahman, as well as holding vast interest in Everton’s John Stones. However there is again question marks over the business, as Rahman is a replacement for recently departed Filipe Luis and Stones would play understudy.
Therefore, Chelsea enter the season as the only side in the Premier League that hasn’t upgraded their starting line-up, despite the fact that Raheem Sterling would’ve been an upgrade on Willian and Oscar spent a vast amount of last season criticised by Jose Mourinho.
Whilst it is difficult to improve a Premier League winning side, it simply has to be done. The reason no side has defended their crown for the past seven years is because it’s a daunting task- but in order to have a chance, you have to improve.
There’s no way Chelsea’s starting team features players that are the best in the world in their position and whilst upgrades will be difficult, they are available. Arturo Vidal and Mario Mandzukic have moved this summer, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger have. There’s been big movers but Chelsea have kept their wallets closed.
Perhaps it’s Jose Mourinho’s arrogance, which has come back to haunt him so many times in his career. He usually leaves a club in his third season as manager, which will play on Chelsea fan’s minds, and with the Blues horrific performances over the summer and lack of activity, I wouldn’t bet against Mourinho ending his second-spell in West London before the 2016/17 season begins.