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Chelsea 2022-23 PL Season Preview – What Is Going On At Stamford Bridge?

Cesar Azpilicueta
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It has been a summer of chaos at Stamford Bridge in 2022, with the change of ownership causing turnover and upheaval behind the scenes, leading to plenty of uncertainty with the recruitment and playing squad. Although the Blues have continued to spend the money under the Todd Boehly-led consortium, signs from pre-season indicate there are reasons to worry for the Chelsea faithful ahead of the new campaign.

Where we left off

2021/22 season: 3rd position | 3rd most goals scored | 3rd fewest goals conceded

Chelsea were stuck in no man’s land in the 2021/22 season. They weren’t as good as the top two – Manchester City and Liverpool – and had just enough quality to avoid a top-four battle with Arsenal and Tottenham. The Blues did have some good cup moments last term, only to lose both domestic cups to Liverpool on penalties and suffer the wrath of Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals. 

Off-season moves

Incomings

1. Raheem Sterling – £50 million (Manchester City)
2. Kalidou Koulibaly – £34 million (Napoli)
3. Carney Chukwuemeka – £20 million (Aston Villa)

Outgoings

1. Romelu Lukaku – Loan (Inter)
2. Andreas Christensen – Free Transfer (Barcelona)
3. Antonio Rudiger – Free Transfer (Real Madrid)

It hasn’t been a straightforward summer in the transfer window for Chelsea as the Blues missed out on several transfer targets, with Joules Kounde and Raphinha snubbing the West London club for Barcelona. Chelsea also lost centre-backs Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger to both Spanish giants on free transfers, whilst Romelu Lukaku returned to Inter Milan on loan after a horror season at Stamford Bridge in 2021/22. 

In terms of incomings, Tomas Tuchel’s side have signed three players so far this window and might also be highly active in the market before deadline day. Raheem Sterling swapped the sky blue of Manchester City for the royal blue of Chelsea in a deal worth £50 million, Kalidou Koulibally joins from Napoli to bolster the defensive ranks, while the Blues also beat plenty of European clubs to the signing of highly rated Aston Villa youngster Carney Chukwuemeka for £20 million.

Probable Starting XI and Squad Depth

Chelsea squad depth

Staring XI – BOLD

Players in red are likely to leave this summer

The Squad (in 12 words or less)

Edouard Mendy – Shot-stopping fell off last year but is still an elite GK

Cesar Azpilicueta – Offers leadership and versatility, great to have around the squad 

Thiago Silva – Can’t defend in space or out wide but flaws covered up by the 3-4-3

Kalidou Koulibaly – £34 million for a 31-year-old CB is a huge leap of faith but is the perfect hair to Silva

Trevoh Chalobah – Ironic that the worst of the 4 Chelsea academy CBs is the one that stays at the club (Colwill, Guehi, Tomori)

Reece James – Somehow, he is an incredible blend of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James

Ben Chilwell – Only hope is that ACL injury has not hampered his athleticism

Marcos Alonso – Better wing-back than Marc Cucurella 

Emerson – He is still at the club?

N’Golo Kante – Remains world-class, but are the injuries catching up with his body?

Jorginho – Still funny to think he won the UEFA Best Player award last season

Matteo Kovacic – Surprisingly started only 16 league games last season

Conor Gallagher – One of the few Chelsea players that will benefit from a switch to the 4-3-3

Carney Chukwuemeka – Remember the name

Mason Mount – Chelsea’s best player after Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling – Signing of the summer considering the price and weakening of a rival

Kai Havertz – 2 years in the PL, and I’m still asking what exactly is Kai Havertz?

Hakim Ziyech – Another summer 2020 acquisition that looks to be money wasted

Christian Pulisic – Same as above except 2019*

Callum Hudson-Odoi – Career has hit a wall under Tuchel. Get some game-time somewhere else, lad

Armando Broja – Chelsea’s best striker at the club at the moment

Timo Werner – The breathing, walking definition of Bundesliga Tax

Burning Question: Is this all going to blow up soon?

Chelsea have made some attractive moves in the transfer window with the additions of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Carney Chukwuemeka and potentially, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana and Frenkie de Jong.

If the latter three moves get done it is difficult to see Chelsea slip up and fail to make the top four. However, nothing has gone to plan for the Blues this off-season. The takeover has resulted in chaos behind the scenes, hindering their recruitment and creating a cloud of uncertainty around Stamford Bridge. The Blues struggled in pre-season, losing 4-0 to Arsenal and 5-3 against FC Charlotte on penalties, and the comments from Tomas Tuchel about the lack of ‘competitive spirit’ from the players was worrying.

The entire situation may blow over and be rendered moot with another £150 million spent on Champions League-calibre players, but managers don’t tend to last long at Stamford Bridge, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the pandemonium results in Tomas Tuchel becoming the latest victim of the revolving door of managers at Chelsea Football Club.

Predicted finish: 5th

 

[Featured Image Credit: Chelsea FC news page]

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