This summer the English clubs were quite busy in the transfer market. Chelsea, as always, tried to strengthen their squad again. With Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses added to their squad, Chelsea have arguably the strongest midfield in the league. It is clear that Roman Abramovich is looking forward to another title this season. Compared to last season, Chelsea have made a few significant changes. The most important change is the new manager. Andre Villas Boas is out on a hunt to get down another London club. Apart from the manager, Didier Drogba also left Chelsea and that has put all responsibilities on Fernando Torres. For Chelsea to win anything this season, Torres must take up Drogba’s role at the club. It is not an easy task and probably that is why they signed some great players like Hazard to assist Torres. It’s been just 3 weeks since the season started and it might be too early to judge but Hazard clearly looks like he is worth the price tag. 4 assists in 3 games already and surely there is more to come.
Torres has opened his account as well. He has scored 2 goals already and again, it is too early to judge him but if he continues his Euro 2012 form, then Chelsea won’t have many problems it seems. Replacing Didier Drogba will require some serious efforts. Torres is certainly capable of doing that. People are still not convinced by Torres’ £50m price tag and I believe this season is a great platform for Torres to silence his critics. Without Drogba, he is Chelsea’s main striker and if he leads Chelsea to their 5th league title, he can surely prove his worth.
The problem that Chelsea have is their defence, which looks fragile at times. It was visible in Chelsea’s game against Reading. There is a possibility, as Roberto Di Matteo said many times that they need to link up their old defence with the new attack. They are currently unbeaten in the league, so they haven’t really paid a price as yet but the ‘link up’ must be completed soon if they want to be the title contenders. With a strong defence, Chelsea can control their games. They have plenty of options in the midfield as well. Regarding forwards, apart from Torres, they have Sturridge, and Hazard can play ahead as well. Salomon Kolou also left in the summer to Lille, so it all comes back to Torres alone.
Chelsea’s next 6 fixtures are:
Stoke City (h)
Norwich City (h)
Tottenham Hotspur (a)
Manchester United (h)
If Chelsea manage to get at least 13 points from these 6 games, they should be in a very strong position. They haven’t really been tested till now. Travelling to the Emirates Stadium and Old Trafford will tell us a lot about this season. In my opinion, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal and Man City are all strong contenders and if I had to pick one, I would say Chelsea are the strongest. However, for Chelsea to actually win the title, Torres must score goals, and plenty of them. If he fails again, then I’m afraid Chelsea might fall short. All the fuss about Robin van Persie has put Man Utd as the top contender in the media but apart from van Persie, Manchester United’s squad is not really an invincible side. Their midfield still lacks creativity and defence is in shambles. At this point, we cannot write off any of the aforementioned teams. If I had to predict the top four for this season, I would go with Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City (in order).
Written by Mugais Jahangir
(Follow on Twitter: @mugaisj)