Chelsea have started the season very well and at the time of writing sit at the top of the Premier League with 22 points from 9 games, just 1 ahead of the Manchester clubs. They spent big in the Summer, investing just over £75m in players that they hope will bring success to West London. They look very strong at the top right now but are known to have a poor run around in the Winter, the question is - can they avoid it this season and go on to win the league?
Chelsea began their campaign with 3 wins from 3 after beating Wigan, Reading and most impressively Newcastle. This showed that it hadn't taken long for Roberto Di Matteo to continue where he had left off from last season. They then had a slight blip at QPR where they were rather lacklustre and limped to a 0-0 draw in a game that was overshadowed by the off the pitch affairs. After this they struggled to a 1-0 win against Stoke thanks to a late winner, again they were unimpressive. Since then they have been very impressive however with a 6-0 demolishing of Wolves in the League Cup and a great 2-1 win at the Emirates. These results were followed by a 4-1 win over Norwich and then a spirited 4-2 win at White Hart Lane.
Last weekend however, they lost 3-2 to Manchester United and finished the game with 9 men. They can count themselves unlucky as Fernando Torres' sending off was debatable and Javier Hernandez's winner was marginally offside. Following that they came back to be beat Man United in the League Cup 5-4 in what was a brilliant game for the neutral full of goals.
Their main signing was Belgian Eden Hazard who they paid around £32m for. He was rated very highly in France where he last played his football for Lille and he lived up to that reputation in the first few games, having a massive influence on the team, especially in terms of assists. He also helped out with a few goals. Since then he has gone a little quieter but still shows threat and his assist to Ramires in the recent League Cup tie was classy. They also spent big on young Brazilian Oscar with £20m, he is another with a big future ahead of him. Not a great deal was expected of Oscar straight away with him being so young but he has really stepped up to the plate, scoring in the Champions League and playing well in the Prem as well. Chelsea also bought sibling Thorgan Hazard, Victor Moses, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marko Marin who haven't featured a great deal this season but Moses has looked good when he's played.
In terms of squad, I'd say Chelsea are fairly well equipped. They have a solid keeper in Cech, a good defence, although Ivanovic and Luiz can be a bit eratic at times. The midfield is where they excel with their creativity and the like of Mata (who has been brilliant this season), Oscar, Hazard and Lampard. Torres has been doing quite well although Chelsea will miss him after his dismissal against Man United. They have a good solid young base for their squad with the likes of Ryan Bertrand to name one, however I feel they need some more strength in depth up front as they rely too heavily on Torres and Sturridge isn't quite there yet.
I would say that Chelsea will definitely be title contenders this year but I think they will come just short at the end, this being down to inexperience. If players like Lampard, Terry and Cech can pass over this experience then they will do very well but they have a lot of young players like Oscar, Hazard, Mata and Sturridge who might not know what it takes to win the League just yet. Perhaps if they could sign someone to partner Torres in attack, a natural goalscorer or if they could get a solid and consistent defender then they might do it, however this year I think it's unlikely, they're a young team who will no doubt be stronger next season in my opinion.
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