Chelsea will hope for a better 2020/21 season | Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images
‘Phase 1’ of Frank Lampard’s plan to rebuild Chelsea is over. The Blues brought through some young talent and still managed to sneak their way into next season’s Champions League, steadying the ship after a bumpy couple of years.
Now it’s time for ‘Phase 2’: becoming genuinely competitive once more.
Lampard has overseen an enormous spending spree this summer which has brought some of Europe’s top talents – Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva – to Stamford Bridge. On paper, Chelsea look ready for that next step, and then some.
Just the start… ? @TimoWerner pic.twitter.com/t0Jwma0snC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 31, 2020
Chelsea’s transfer business has left them with one of Europe’s most frightening forward lines, which you’d obviously expect when close to £200m has been spent on that area.
Christian Pulisic spent the second half of last season emerging as one of the Premier League’s top wingers, and now he’s got Ziyech, Werner and Havertz to play with as well. That’s not just good, that’s elite – the kind of attack most teams can only dream of.
Throw Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount into the mix and things only look better for Chelsea. If all the puzzle pieces fit together, the Blues’ forwards could be in for a big season.
Arrizabalaga is fighting to save his career | Pool/Getty Images
The problem for Chelsea is that, while their forwards are wreaking havoc at one end of the field, their defenders are causing havoc at the other end.
Silva’s experience and know-how should make Chelsea better in that regard, but there’s something a little scary about putting so much faith in a soon-to-be 36-year-old player with no experience of life in the Premier League.
Finally, if Kepa Arrizabalaga remains in goal, opponents will be confident of scoring goals. The Spaniard’s reputation plummeted through the floor last season, and he’s got a lot of work to do to prove to fans that he is actually reliable.
Havertz could be a vital part of the team | Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Reigning Player of the Season Mateo Kovačić deserves a shout here for his ability to dictate play and keep Chelsea moving forward, but it’s hard not to look at one of the new boys as Chelsea’s key player for the upcoming season.
Ziyech will be expected to create and Werner will be relied upon to score, but Havertz’s status as the most expensive arrival will likely make him the ‘star’. The German will need to both create and score goals at an elite rate, and he has proven over the last few years that he’s more than capable of that.
Havertz is a potentially generational talent, and with that comes a huge level of expectation. Fortunately, all the signs suggest he can rise to the challenge.
Lampard wants to challenge for the title | Julian Finney/Getty Images
Are Chelsea ready to win the Premier League title? Probably not.
Are Chelsea ready to push Liverpool and Manchester City right to the business end of the season? Absolutely.
Lampard’s side should be viewed as a genuine threat this season. They look like scoring a boat load of goals and will hope to combine that attacking flair with an above-average defence, and that should bring success.
It’s a bit much to expect Chelsea to win every trophy over the coming year, but glory in the FA Cup or Carabao Cup is hardly out of reach. If the Blues can add a deep run in the Champions League and a respectable league title push, they’ll be ready for phase three – domination.
Prediction: 3rd, but fewer than ten points behind top spot.
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