There are numerous previews of the season 2013-14 in the World Wide Web out there, but as the Premier League is about to start, I think it is about the right time to give you a general overview and bring in my opinions too.
The Pre-Season: We did really well in our pre-season: the results were good (6 wins out of 7 games), the loanees from last year impressed, 4-3-3 would be an alternative formation and the new signings were decent too. However, the good form in the pre-season can have a different outcome in the regular season and, as Mourinho said, the pre-season is meaningless if we don’t get the 3 points in the opening against Hull City.
The manager: The attention on the first matchday won’t be on one of our player or new signing, but all eyes are on our new manager, Jose Mourinho. He will enter a different team he had in his first reign at Chelsea, a talented and motivated group of young players. Stability is the main goal of the second coming of the Portuguese, and we will hopefully have a successful time with a lot of silverwares until we reach this goal. In the six years absence of Mourinho between 2007 and 2013 he won one Champions League, 3 domestic leagues (2x Inter, 1x Real Madrid) and two domestic cups (each one with Inter and Real Madrid).
Strengths and Weaknesses: Managers are essential for the success of a team nowadays, and with Mourinho we already have a massive edge over our title contenders. He knows the Premier League inside out and he has already changed the atmosphere in the team and between us, the fans. We have individually very good players, notable our three amigos in the attacking midfield, and our balanced squad work as a team as well.
Is Rooney coming or not? Our strike force improved with Lukaku, but we still don’t have someone who we can rely on and a man up front that can make the difference. We could also get a more solid and creative defensive-midfielder, but the striker position is the biggest concern in the moment.
Our biggest title rivals: Our main title contenders come from Manchester, as it was the last couple of years. Arsenal and Tottenham can produce the unexpected, but for the title are both teams individually too weak. Manchester United didn’t start well at all under David Moyes, but if I have learned something in my life of watching football is: Never write Manchester Untied off. I won’t lie that Manchester City has the individually stronger players, but a high inconsistency may give us the title in the end.
Key Ins and Outs Ins
Schürrle: The German forward/winger is our most expensive buy in this season until now (for £18m). His biggest strength is shown in his dangerous counters; his speed and stamina are completed by a brilliant shot-technique.
Marco Van Ginkel: This young player executes the role of a typical box-to-box player with his dynamism and ability to play both in the defensive and attacking midfield. Many prefer Ramires/Mikel to play in our holding midfield, but I had a better impression of MVG and Essien in the pivot in pre-season.
Mark Schwarzer: We finally have a reliable replacement for Cech since Cudicini. Schwarzer made a horrible mistake in the last pre-season against AS Roma, but he is experienced enough to get over it. In fact he made more than 500 Premier League appearances. Impressive.
Outs – (None of our key-players from last season left. All right, Benayoun was quite ‘important’, he came off the bench very often…)
Further transfer plans
Wayne Rooney is still the main-target for Jose Mourinho and hopefully he can join us before the 26th of August, when we face Manchester United at Old Trafford. Moyes is keen on keeping Rooney, but deep inside he knows he can’t hold him if he really wants to leave, especially after he said that Rooney might only play a role if RVP is injured. Mourinho could consider a move for Samuel Eto’o or Luis Suarez if Manchester United force Rooney to stay.
David Luiz could be on his way out of Chelsea after he apparently has told Mourinho that he wants to leave. The Geezer is an exceptional defender with a lot of strength to create something in the attack, he has an outstanding character and I admit that Luiz made a huge improvement in his defensive work (maybe I get this feeling because he was played as a midfielder) last year, but he is still shaky, inconsistent and tends to make stupid dribblings. I think there are still great options (Varane, Vertonghen, Richards, Agger or even Jagielka) to replace him, but just on a footballer and not personal way, because David Luiz has a special personality. But we should let Luiz go if he really wants to (I don’t want us to play the same game as Moyes does with Rooney) and Chelsea should try to hold on with a nothing-under €50m (which is too much for any defender so we could end on a good deal).
Juan Mata: Chelsea’s player of the year, Juan Mata, is without a doubt our most important player at the moment. He proved to be essential in our team, especially when he is absent. Last season was another great year (11 goals and 17 assists in the PL) for the Spaniard and hopefully he can keep up his form, fitness and doesn’t get injured.
Petr Cech: Our hero in the goal stayed the very consistent over the past couple of years, and he will certainly play a big role this season too.
Fernando Torres (?): A brilliant striker could decide the title as we have seen it last season. RVP fired Manchester United to the title while Mancini was frustrated that he missed out on the Dutchman. I don’t expect anything from Torres that big, but a consistent Torres with a three magnificent players behind him could make things look good.
Players to watch
The two young players from Vitesse, Kalas and Van Ginkel, are certainly two exciting players who I can’t wait to watch how they do in the Premier League. Romelu Lukaku already proved that he is good enough for the most unpredictable league in the world, and he will challenge Torres/Ba for first team spot in the striker position.
The number from last season
203 – Club record of Chelsea goals by Frank Lampard. And he also became the first player ever to scorer 10 or more league goals in 10 consecutive Premier League seasons.
Mourinho – “We don’t do it (win the Premier League next season), but (if we) show an evolution in the season, show we are moving in the right direction, (then) I think we will be champions in the second season and it is not a drama.”
First 5 fixtures
Hull City (18th August, Sun) at home (Premier League)
Aston Villa (21th August, Wed) at home (Premier League)
Manchester United (26th August, Mon) away (Premier League)
Bayern München (30th August, Fri) in Prague (UEFA Super Cup)
Everton (14th Septembre, Sat) away (Premier League)
(According to the official Chelsea-website)
What should not miss in a preview? Right, a prediction. I believe we are title-favourites in the Premier League with Mourinho on the sideline, so I predict us to finish 1st the Premier League. I’m a lot less optimistic about the Champions League. Quarterfinal won’t be bad result in Mourinho’s first year (certainly not satisfying for him), but I think quarter- or even semifinal won’t be bad, of course depended on how much luck we have with our draw (us, Juventus and Dortmund in the same group?).
Thanks for reading and please leave us your comments on what you think on the season ahead! KTBFFH! Jonny (@jonny9fan)