Premier League 2015-16 Season Preview: Chelsea

Jose Mourinho was finally able to remove any regrets of having re-joined Chelsea, as the blues celebrated the first league title last season after almost five years. Chelsea finished a long way off from Manchester City in Mourinho’s first season since returning to Stamford Bridge. The competition’s strength had grown manifold since his last time in English football. Yet, Chelsea were able to come away from all obstacles in the finest manner possible. Few would term the blues as undeserved winners of the league title last season.

However, a much sterner test awaits Chelsea this season and Mourinho will be the first to realise it. Manchester United have strengthened immensely in the summer by bringing names like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay. City have brought in a sparkling talent in the form of Raheem Sterling. Arsenal have strengthened their vital areas by bringing Chelsea’s own Petr Cech. Liverpool have been on a spending spree to reinvest the £49 million secured from the sale of Sterling.

In contrast, Chelsea have been extremely quiet in the summer. Falcao is the only outfield player signed so far. He arrives just on a season long loan deal and is not expected to be anything more than a third choice striker. Speaking about Falcao’s role at the club, Mourinho said a few weeks ago:

“I spoke with John Terry and Gary Cahill a lot about him. And we think the bright movement is there, the movement to get freedom in the box to score goals is there.

“Our players had difficulty to control him all the time and we feel the potential is there.

“Let’s see if he can improve his confidence, his happiness. If the fact we have a good community of Portuguese people, plus the guys who were with him in Atletico.”

Begovic will be a more than capable understudy for Thibaut Courtois even though he will not come closer to matching the quality of Cech, who spent much of last season on the bench.

A very poor pre-season just concluded with the 1-0 defeat against Arsenal in the Community Shield. Chelsea have managed ZERO wins in their pre-season so far. Yet, some of the veterans like John Terry and Gary Cahill have been quick to point out that pre-season is just for building fitness. The squad may very well improve that aspect soon since they have a very tough run of fixtures to start with. The blues take on the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, and Everton in the opening few weeks.

Costa has not been firing on all cylinders even towards the end of last season. Much will depend on his goal scoring abilities if Chelsea are to retain the league title.

Key Players to Watch: Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas

Last Season’s Position: 1st

Important Signings: Radamel Falcao (loan from Monaco) and Asmir Begovic (from Stoke City)

Key Departures: Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Petr Cech (Arsenal), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), and Marco van Ginkel (Stoke)