Chelsea news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.
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Okay, time to focus on the Blues…
2019-20 finish: 4th (20W-6D-12L, 66 points)
Head coach: Frank Lampard
2019-20 PL top scorer: Tammy Abraham (15 PL goals)
Location: West London
ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Chelsea: $250 million spent this summer
During a summer transfer window in which most of the world’s biggest clubs are overly hesitant to spend money, Chelsea have blown past the $250-million mark and added four new starters to the side that finished fourth last season. Now, the question becomes: what happens to the young players who grew from the experience of starting the majority of last season? Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount are all 22 or younger, and between the trio they scored 31 PL goals and provided 12 assists in 2019-20. 48 percent of Chelsea’s goals last season were scored by players 22 or younger. Following the arrivals of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, only Pulisic figures to hold onto his starting place.
The pressure for Frank Lampard to win a trophy is set to begin this season, with his one-season honeymoon period past, now the club can sign players again. Reaching the final of the FA Cup was a solid enough achievement in his first season back at Stamford Bridge, but $250 million spent will come with the expectations that trophies follow in short order.
Chelsea news: The current situation
While everything appears to be settled in the attacking half of the field, there remains much uncertainty along the Blues’ backline. Ben Chilwell will almost certainly start at left back after signing from Leicester City this summer, but that’s about it for surefire locks. Cesar Azpilicueta will figure into the right-back rotation once again, but he’s now 31 and 20-year-old Reece James impressed a great deal in 1,500 minutes at the position last season. The semior center backs at Lampard’s disposal — Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger — are all still quite young, but have each struggled a fair bit when leaned upon too heavily. Fikayo Tomori played nearly 1,300 minutes at the spot last season, but will Lampard have the same faith in the 22-year-old now that trophies are the minimum expectation rather than simply finishing in the top-four?
Key Chelsea news, season objectives
- Objective no. 1: win a trophy. After two straight seasons without silverware, Blues fans — and the board — will feel it’s time to celebrate once again.
- Objective no. 2: utilize the entire squad. This is perhaps the deepest Chelsea squad ever, with a wonderful balance of expensive, prime-year players alongside a group of talented youngsters who have already proven themselves at this level.
- Hakim Ziyech: $48 million, from Ajax
- Timo Werner: $62 million, from RB Leipzig
- Ben Chilwell: $60 million, from Leicester City
- Thiago Silva: free transfer, from Paris Saint-Germain
- Kai Havertz: $95 million, from Bayer Leverkusen
ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Chelsea in 2020-21
Top-four is an absolute must, and a pretty safe bet given the talent and depth of Lampard’s squad. While last season was all about “doing more with less” on the heels of the transfer ban, 2020-21 will be the season in which Lampard is more harshly and critically assessed for the finer points of his managerial game. With a squad like this, there’s nowhere for anyone to hide — especially the man in charge.
Have they closed the gap from being 15 points behind Manchester City and a whopping 33 behind Liverpool? Probably so. Have they done enough to challenge those sides for a top-two spot? Perhaps. Chelsea is the wild card club of 2020-21, with no one else realistically capable of taking as massive of a leap forward. In the end, they’ll finish second or third, but still a handful of points behind the champions.