Season Preview: How will Chelsea fare under new manager Sarri?
Chelsea at a glance:
Premier League titles: 6 (Most recent: 2016/17)
FA Cups: 8 (Most recent: Last season)
League Cups: 5 (Most recent: 2014/15)
FA Community Shield: 4 (Most recent: 2009)
UEFA Champions League: 1 (2011/12)
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With Manchester City and Liverpool dominating headlines throughout preseason, Chelsea has managed to fly under the radar in a lot of ways heading into the 2018/19 Premier League season.
With new manager Maurizio Sarri guiding the club, it seems as though the Blues have a coach in place that will be able to get the best out of their talent, which has already shown by his ability to keep Eden Hazard, Willian and N’Golo Kante at the club.
This team is just two seasons removed from hoisting the PL trophy, and with many players still in the prime of their career, it’s not unfathomable that Sarri can guide this club to glory once again.
Chelsea will contend because… the Blues have managed to stave off serious attempts at other clubs hijacking their top talents. To this point, Hazard, Willian, Kante, Courtois and others are all staying put at Stamford Bridge, and on paper, this squad is still one of the two or three best in England.
Chelsea will end up out of the top four mix because…. Manchester City and Liverpool will be too much to handle at the top, and Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United will have their say in the title race as well.
Best possible XI:
Azpilicueta — Christensen — Rudiger — Alonso
Jorginho — Kante — Fabregas
Willian — Morata — Hazard
Transfers In: Jorginho (Napoli), Rob Green (Huddersfield Town)
Transfers Out: Jeremie Boga (Sassuolo), Jonathan Panzo (Monaco), Isaac Christie-Davies (Liverpool), Jordan Houghton (MK Dons), Wallace (Unattached), Harvey St Clair (Venezia)
Ranking their offseason: B-
Jorginho’s addition to the club automatically solidifies Chelsea as boasting one of the top midfields in the PL with his partnership next to N’Golo Kante, but while that move will likely prove to be brilliant, the Blues were relatively quiet in the transfer market. Sarri will surely bank on many of the club’s regulars from previous seasons to come back stronger in 2018/19 and lift Chelsea back into the title race, as they were two seasons ago.
Star player: Fresh off of a brilliant showing at the World Cup, Eden Hazard must now carry that over to the PL and show the rest of the world why he should be among the consideration and discussions of best players in the game. Hazard has all the capabilities imaginable as an attacking threat, but for Chelsea to get back into the thick of things in England he’ll need to be special this season.
Coach’s Corner: Maurizio Sarri stepped in relatively late in the game after a back-and-forth battle between Antonio Conte and management, however, the former Napoli boss seems to have brought a calming presence to the club. The veteran Italian has done his job thus far in keeping many of the side’s top talents in London, but now it’s up to Sarri to carry that over and provide the results for a club that always has tremendous expectations.
PST Predicts: Following a World Cup, it’s hard to predict how players will return to form given the strains of overexertion. Man City and Liverpool have earned the rights to be considered heavy favorites, but Chelsea won’t slouch with its current group of players. If Morata and/or Batshuayi finds their form up front, the Blues will boast a very strong front three to go along with a rock solid defensive unit that is now led by Kante and Jorginho sitting in front of the back four.