This article doesn’t criticise any player in any way, but it focuses on players who were more or less out of form last season and has to improve this season. I automatically excluded someone like Hazard or Mata who had a massive season and I also didn’t include players where there isn’t much potential for an improvement, e.g. players from the old guard such as Ashley Cole or John Terry, both 32, as I only see a little chance that they will reach a small peak again after they passed their 30’s. Obvious the whole the team has to improve if we want to be champions of England next year, but there are some players where we can expect more.
Demba Ba: Mourinho might want to sell Ba, but maybe he’ll get a chance to stay at Chelsea and prove that he is a reliable striker. Demba Ba came to Chelsea in January for £7m with 13 goals in the league already, but as many striker at Chelsea, Ba failed to continue his goals-scoring run in the Premier League. He only scored another 2 goals in 14 games for Chelsea in the league.
Ba himself wants to stay at the club, and he would also welcome Rooney to create more competition on the striker position. Ba showed good movements in front of goal and is very strong in the air, but the conversion of the big chances and in-game activity were underwhelming. However, he was a deadly striker in Newcastle and at his previous clubs so it’s about time that he show it in our blue shirt.
Victor Moses: I have often criticised Victor Moses for his inconsistent and sloppy play, especially in his final pass. However, Moses is 22 and he still has plenty of room to develop himself. Moses is a good trickster, has decent pace (I thought he was faster when he played for Wigan though) and strangely enough he scored quite often with his head for Chelsea.
Players of our squad who can make the game wider is limited and I really hope that Moses to bloom this season. He made a great impression at the Guiness Cup against AC Milan and Inter, so hopefully he’ll keep improving this season and to have more impact on the team than last season.
Gary Cahill: You may be surprised on this one while Cahill might be the most solid defender (that is a bit exaggerated I have to admit) we have at the moment (all of our defenders are quite prone to mistakes). And he also had decent season, so why did I include him to this list? The first thing is that I believe that Cahill can play a lot better (like he did in the Champions League matches before winning the title) than he did this season, especially after RDM’s departure. The 27-year old should succeed Terry’s position on long-term and he could take a more important role next year already. Cahill has nearly everything for a defender: height, strength, he is a good blocker and he can produce danger in front too.
The second reason is that Cahill underperformed after the knee surgery late in the season and in pre-season too. He needs to be more consistent and to press better. His big weakness is that he doesn’t put the opponent more under pressure. Cahill doesn’t like to tackle and rely on his decent positioning.
Fernando Torres: This player you certainly have already guessed it: The £50-million man. He improved his in-game attributes since he arrived at Chelsea, but, again and again, he has ‘strange’ goal-droughts that can last for many months. I call it strange not only because they last very long, but these goal-droughts mostly occur in the Premier League. He scored 22 goals for Chelsea last season and 5 goals in the ConfedCup for Spain in the summer, which is decent for a regular striker, but not enough for a world-class player like Torres. However, I don’t believe that Torres has a lot of potential and time left to improve himself, but maybe Mourinho really can do magic.
The system at Chelsea never suited Torres. And we also don’t have someone like Alonso or Gerrard who have perfect visions and are very strong in playing long balls or a Kuyt who can play pinpoint crosses from the wings. Torres must cope with our system, but Mourinho could create something new and different or maybe change Torres’ role to get him shining again.
Ryan Bertrand: Ashley Cole’s place in the starting eleven was never really in doubt for many years. However, Bertrand could get the better of Ashley Cole this year as he turns 33 by the end of Decembre. Bertrand always played very consistent and decent, not bad, but not really impressive either. Our own academy player established himself into our first team squad and also had the chance to start in the Champions League final. He has a very good work ethic and pace, but he can be caught out easily by weaknesses in the defence. If Cole can’t hold his form or fitness, Bertrand could become an important player aand replace the ‘untouchable’ Ashley Cole who doesn’t seem to be untouchable at all anymore.
As mentioned at the beginning, this article doesn’t intend to critise any player in any way, but they may play an crucial role in the upcoming season (one week to go). Interestingly is that I included two of the three strikers we have, actually all strikers if you only look at the forwards we had last season (Ba and Torres).
Who do you think has to improve and could play a ‘hidden’ key role in the upcoming season? Jonny (@jonny9fan)