Stadium: Stamford Bridge
Location: London (west)
Head Coach: Frank Lampard
Nickname: The Blues, The Pensioners
Rival(s): Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham, Arsenal
Top-Division Titles: 6 – 1954-55, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10, 2014-15, 2016-17
[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]
Best possible XI:
Key arrivals: Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Matteo Kovacic (Real Madrid)
Key departures: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Ola Aina (Torino), Alvaro Morata (Loan, Atletico Madrid), Victor Moses (Loan, Fenerbache), Ethan Ampadu (Loan, RB Leipzig), Matt Miazga (Loan, Reading), David Luiz (Arsenal)
Ranking their offseason: Frank Lampard has returned and despite the obvious issue of a transfer ban hanging over Chelsea for the next 12 months, things have gone very well during preseason. Youngsters Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham have impressed, while Christian Pulisic has also settled in very well with some star performances and both Pedro and Ross Barkley have been brilliant too. Lampard looks like he’s going to play a 4-2-3-1 formation this season and he has plenty of options after Chelsea’s loan brigade returned and performed well all summer. Losing 32-year-old center back David Luiz was a blow for Chelsea, but they have other defensive options to cover for his departure. The preparation couldn’t have gone that much better for Lampard. 7/10
Star player: With Eden Hazard gone, Chelsea no longer have a genuine superstar to lift them to victories. It will take more a team effort from the aforementioned attackers. N’Golo Kante, who has been struggling during the summer with an injury, is their most important player and if he is restored to the holding midfield role, as Lampard intends to do so, then the Frenchman will hold everything together. Of course, Pulisic is a star in the making and Lampard has already see the USMNT star will be a “big player” for Chelsea. When he returns from injury teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi will also be a star in the making, while Willian is around too. Talk about attacking options. Cesar Azpilicueta will also hold the back line in place rather nicely.
Coaches’ Corner: Lampard is a legend at Stamford Bridge and was a hugely popular choice to take over from Maurizio Sarri, especially when it comes to bringing through young talent with his assistant Jody Morris. But don’t forget that this Chelsea side won the Europa League, lost in the League Cup final on penalty kicks and finished third in the PL last season, so they are no mugs. Lampard will be given a little extra leeway due to his legendary status as a player but if they get off to a poor start in the PL and Champions League, expect the chatter to start about his future. That would be quite ridiculous considering this is Lampard’s second season as a manager, as he worked wonders at second-tier Derby County last season. But we all know that having a glittering playing career doesn’t automatically translate into being a fantastic manager. Lampard has landed one of the biggest possible jobs just 12 months into his career as a manager. Let’s see if all of his experience can guide a team full of young academy products towards a title push.
PST predicts: Closing the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool has to be the aim, but considering they lost Hazard, Sarri and have been hit with a transfer ban, a top four finish and a deep UCL run would be a fantastic season for the west London club. Lampard knows he has to hit the ground running and if he doesn’t there is a chasing pack waiting to sneak into the top six. This really is a flip of the coin prediction given the inexperience of Lampard and several of his players.