Chelsea enjoyed the dream start to life under Tomas Tuchel which culminated in Porto with their victory over Manchester City in the final of the Champions League. The German has completely changed the atmosphere around the club since replacing Frank Lampard in January 2021 and has raised the expectations as he prepares for his first full season in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel transformed the Chelsea defence – conceding only 11 goals in 19 league games in his tenure – with his switch to the 3-4-3 system, and here is how the Blues’ squad is shaping up ahead of the new season.
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After spending north of £220 million in the 2020 summer window, Chelsea’s squad is incredibly well-rounded with very few gaps that need filling. The only major issue that Chelsea faced under Tuchel last season was the lack of goals from a number nine, and in true Roman Abramovic fashion, they have found a €115 million Romelu Lukaku sized solution to that problem.
The Belgian striker has returned to complete his unfulfilled legacy at Stamford Bridge and is a completely different player from the one Chelsea sold to Everton in 2014. Lukaku has scored 34 and 30 goals in all competitions in his two seasons with Inter, while also improving his link-up play and vision, which makes him a complete centre forward.
The 28-year-old adds a different dimension to this Chelsea team which they sorely missed last season, making them one of the two standout favourites for the title alongside Manchester City.
BEST STARTING XI
Edouard Mendy has proven to be an incredibly astute signing for Chelsea in goal, with the former Rennes goalkeeper excelling with the ball at his feet and in terms of his shot-stopping for the Blues last season.
In the back three, club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger have been given a new lease of life by Tuchel and the pair of them have excelled alongside Thiago Silva in the middle, who has continued to put in high-class performances at the age of 36.
Tomas Tuchel has rotated his wing-backs quite often throughout his time at the club, but the two best options remain the two young English stars – Reece James and Ben Chilwell – who featured heavily in Chelsea’s Champions League run last season.
In midfield, Jorginho has earned some recognition in recent months following his influential presence in Chelsea’s and Italy’s victory in the Champions League and European Championships. The Italian is the initiator of the Chelsea offence and will partner Frenchman N’Golo Kante who was excellent towards the back end of last season – earning the Man of the Match award in both legs of the UCL semi-final against Real Madrid.
For the front three, Tomas Tuchel has a wealth of options to choose from with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic all recently purchased for massive fees in the past two seasons. However, such is the depth that Chelsea possess in attacking positions that none of those players find a spot in the first XI due to the emergence of Kai Havertz and Mason Mount, as well as the arrival of Romelu Lukaku.
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Mount was named Chelsea’s Fans player of the season and has emerged as a key starter for every manager he has played under due to his quality on the ball, pressing ability and elite understanding of space. Mount and Havertz combined for the goal that won Chelsea the Champions League Final, and the pair of them will work incredibly well alongside Romelu Lukaku to alleviate Chelsea’s goal-scoring woes from last season.
Considering the significant outlay in the past two years to catch up to the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, Chelsea should be right up there competing for the Premier League title towards the business end of the season. Despite all their riches, the Blues have underperformed in the league over the past four seasons since their victory under Antonio Conte in 2017. However, with a settled squad littered with talent, along with a world-class manager, the feeling around West London is that the Champions League victory in Porto could be the start of something special for this team.
Premier League Prediction: 2nd
[Image Credit: Chelsea FC]