Photo via Sky Sports
To say Chelsea F.C. has high expectations this season would be as obvious as saying the Pope is Catholic. Or water is wet. Or the sky is blue (no pun intended). You get the idea.
The high bar, however, makes perfect sense for the West London squad. After all, they spent over 200 million euros in transfer fees over the current transfer window and might not even be done with the spending spree.
Despite the pressure increasing in Frank Lampard’s second year managing the club, the new-look Chelsea club should be able to live up to those expectations. With the new moves, the club could should not only compete for a top-four placement in the Premier League but contend for the European Champion Clubs’ Cup itself.
Without even going into anything else, Chelsea’s attack must be talked about first.
High-profile transfer moves in Kai Havertz and Timo Werner (who combined for 40 goals and 14 assists in the Bundesliga last season) headline the newly revamped attack, as the German teammates will bring more poise, patience and striking capabilities in space or in tightly knit formations. The addition of Hakim Ziyech only adds to the shot in the arm the club has received in regard to offensive potential. The trio will look to become mainstays in a formation already formidable with Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham.
The midfield, meanwhile, brings familiar faces to the fold. N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovavic bring a combination of hard-nosed athleticism and youth, respectively. The additional trump card of 21-year-old Mason Mount (who scored seven goals in 37 Premier League matches last season) gives the midfield an additional jolt of depth to counteract potential injuries.
The concern for Chelsea heading into the season did not come from their attack. Instead, it came from their spacious backline. However, the porous unit quickly gained a well-needed clog during the transfer window, as the Blues were able to poach away 23-year-old Ben Chilwell from Leicester City. Highly regarded as one of the up-and-coming left-backs, Chilwell joins in on the offseason transaction list to the defense that was additionally supplemented by veteran Thiago Silva, who joined the Blues on a free from Paris Saint-Germain.
Offseason upgrades in the backline will definitely help in limiting the opposing passing and striking lanes. Lampard will definitely appreciate it, no doubt.
The x-factor for Chelsea this upcoming season, however, will come from the goalkeeping. After Chelsea conceded 54 goals in Premier League play last season, Lampard grew sour on Kepa Arrizabalaga (who conceded 47 out of those 54 goal) and has now set his sights on Edouard Mendy from Stade Rennais, who has more save success than Arrizabalaga has. Should Chelsea officially bring in Mendy, the goalkeeping, on paper, should look more formidable.
The club, in its current state, brings much more star power and guarantee than last year’s squad, even with the roster on the youthful side.
The key for Chelsea, however, might not come in production, but in chemistry.
The severe glut of moves made by the club (in addition to more possible moves in the form of bidding for Declan Rice and selling Kante to Manchester United) could potentially create for = interesting lineups that sees several players benched or substituted to start or finish matches, respectively. Should the club’s new additions mesh well, there should be no issue. If they begin to butt heads with mainstays on the roster already, well, Lampard might have some sweet-talking to do.
Whatever the weather, the depth is there should injuries steadily increase as the season continues onward. The talent is there. Now is the time to see all of the talent mesh into the magic that netted Chelsea the victory in the 2012 Champions League Final.
The goal is simple. Win.
The expectations are lofty, but the line in the sand has been drawn for Chelsea. Luckily, the club is up to the challenge.