Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Chelsea to finish outside the top four, again!

The appointment of Roberto Di Matteo came as no real shock given the Italian's incredible end to the 2011-12 season, winning the F.A Cup as well as defying the odds to win the Champions League for the first time in the clubs history. It's fair to say Chelsea have gone down the young attacking flair route in their transfer purchases this summer, with the additions of Edin Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin the three stand out buys.

Their previous season was very much a tale of two halves and two managers. Under Andre Vilas-Boas the club struggled in the league and were on the verge of FA Cup and Champions League exit's until his sacking following a 1-0 defeat away to West Brom. The Portuguese's departure saw Chelsea appoint, their then assistant manager, Di Matteo on a deal till the end of the season; however after completing the most unlikely of double's, the former Chelsea player was offered a two year contract.

Despite the loss of the mercurial Didier Drogba and the versatile Salomon Kalou, Chelsea will be incredibly strong as an attacking threat. Towards the end of the season, culminating in winning the Golden Shoe at the European Championship for his country, their £50million man Fernando Torres was starting to re-discover the form that made him the best striker in the world. Much will really on the form of the Spaniard as their only other forward options fall very much into the young and untested category, with Di Matteo unlikely to use Daniel Sturridge through the middle.

Chelsea need goals from their main man next season.

Key Player - Ramires. With all the attacking flair in the squad, getting the right balance in the midfield is integral if Chelsea are going to be successful next season. The Brazilian improved dramatically under Di Matteo and was superb in the Nou Camp as the club secured their place in the Champions League final. Ramires will probably play as one of two holding midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 (with the other likely to be John Obi Mikel or Frank Lampard as the Englishmen moves further down the field given his age).

Prediction - 5th. I worry for Chelsea defensively next season as their brilliant old guard, in the form of John Terry and Ashley Cole, age just that one year more. At times they were woeful at the back and conceded far too many goals, and with their main additions more offensively minded, they are likely to be set up more attacking then we saw in the Nou Camp and the Allianz Arena. With many young, yet highly talented additions the club will be a huge threat, I just don't think they're ready to challenge for the title this season, as this year will be about jelling and building for the future.

View from a fan - Fraser Stradling @Fraserstradling

What would be an ideal season?
The dream season would be to win back the Premier League whilst retaining the Champions League. Realistically though i'd be very happy with the Premier League title and am optimistic that might happen if Torres carries on his European Championship scoring form and Hazard settles in along with the other new signings.

What would be a nightmare season?
The nightmare year would be to not qualify for the Champions League as well as finishing the season trophy less.

Do you have the right manager?
After the dramatic turn around at the end of last season, I am more than willing to give him a trial run.  hope he is but it's always difficult to be the 'right' Chelsea manager with all the expectation. I have faith though, he's captured excellent youngsters and has shown he can get the best from the team when it matters the most.

Which Premier League player would you sign given the chance?
Kyle Walker. The boy has potential and Chelsea have looked a bit shakey and leaked too many goals in pre season. I think he'd be a good replacement for Branislav Ivanovic who I don't think will be happy to keep playing as a right back for much more then another season.

Is this the season we see the real Fernando Torres?
Again I'm optimistic. If we add a winger I think he stands a better chance and have more confidence. We've added players with pace in this window and hopefully that'll help him find his feet.

Would you prefer to win back the Premier League or regain the Champions League?
To make history and retain the Champions League! It's better to be the best in Europe rather then the best in England.

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