The reigning champions have a tough task up ahead if they are to defend their title next season. Here is the Chelsea 2017-18 Season Preview and Expectations.
Last season was Conte’s first in England, and he inherited a squad that was dealing with a traumatic 10th place finish. To get them to win the league, against the best managers and the top players was a mammoth achievement.
But this time around, he’s under much more pressure.
He has had to deal with a lot of outgoing players over one season, and comparatively few in coming players. His apparent displeasure with the Chelsea top brass over transfer dealings and the rumours of him quitting have put Chelsea’s season under a cloud, even before it’s start.
ALSO READ : Barcelona readying an incredible bid for Dybala
All the top teams are vying for the trophy, with great additions to their respective squads, to compete in the champions league in addition to the domestic matches. High profile signings mean the dynamics have all changed. No team can be taken for granted, as Spurs saw last season against West Ham.
All eyes will be on their star signing, Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, for a club record fee in the range of 70 million pounds. But so far, he hasn’t impressed anyone, missing a penalty, among other things, in the Community Shield loss to Arsenal. Conte must surely have something in mind to bring out his best.
The other signings, however, have impressed, with Rudiger showing his defensive capabilities, and Caballero proving to be a safe pair of hands. Bakayoko, who was swooped from the French winners AS Monaco, is injured, and yet to showcase his skill to the Chelsea faithful.
Chelsea will be missing their star Eden Hazard for the first few matches owing to an injury picked up while playing for Belgium. Hazard is a crucial link in the team and it will be interesting to see how Conte works without him.
Courtois between the posts is a big sigh of relief for the team, as he has one of the safest hands in the league. The defence has the presence of Azpilicueta, along with Luiz and Cahill, all of whom provide great cover to the goalkeeper.
Alonso and Moses have controlled the wings beautifully till now, and seem to keep up their good work, as seen in the pre-season. Michy Batshuayi, surprisingly, has been racking in the goals for the team, working hard to impress the manager.
With Kante bossing the midfield and bullying the opposition, Fabregas working his magic with his precise passing, and Pedro with his sublime finishes and touches, the midfield seems intimidating to say the least.
The department of worry is the attack, where a proper replacement for Costa is yet to be found. The attacks can come undone against any opposition, and such a lapse cannot be accepted if they are to retain the title.
A 4th place finish seems the minimum the men in blue can stoop down to, but the Italian manager only has eyes for the crown. And he will bring out all his tactics to ensure he comes out on top.