Chelsea won the 2016-17 Premier League title pretty convincingly, they led the league for a long time, and never looked back after Conte’s formation switch to a fluid 3-4-3. However, teams will now have analysed the way they play, and all the other big teams will be making big signings to challenge Chelsea in the 2017-18 season. Whatever happens, Chelsea can be sure that defending their title will be much harder than winning it. Read on to know what areas the Champions need to strengthen for the upcoming season:
1. Squad Depth
No European football was a blessing in disguise for Chelsea last year as they didn’t need to rotate their core squad, and fatigue wasn’t really an issue. This year, they will participate in 4 competitions, and playing in the Champions League will take a lot out of their squad. While they have players like Willian and Fabregas who can come off the bench, they will definitely need better fringe players to call upon for the easier Premier League/ League Cup games.
With Diego Costa and Conte’s public falling-out, the Brazil-born Spanish striker will not be at Stamford Bridge when the 2017-18 season kicks-off. Not the smartest move by Chelsea, as even if they do sign Lukaku, they will need another big-name striker to call upon. Costa was a proven goalscorer in both the Premier League as well as the Champions League. While Batshuayi can play the League Cup games, he still is far from ready to take on world class defenders in the Champions League.
Will he or won’t he? Everyone knows Zidane and Madrid want Chelsea’s talisman, Eden Hazard at the Bernabeu, and if he is to leave, that will leave Chelsea with a big hole in their attack, as they will have to plan for life without their two best attackers.
In addition to that, Matic is being linked with a move to Manchester United, while Chelsea are pursuing Monaco’s Bakayoko. Chelsea should look to add a CAM to their squad, as Fabregas can’t be expected to start every game. This will also help in giving Hazard much more freedom to attack. While Chelsea’s main striker is leaving, teams like Manchester United and Manchester City are bringing in a wealth of attacking resources, so the Champions can’t risk not bringing in big-name signings.
John Terry’s replacement needs to be signed, as even Cahill has proven to be very slow at times, and is terrible with the ball at his feet. These weaknesses will undoubtedly be exploited in the Champions League, where the quality of attackers are on a whole different level to the Premier League! Nathan Ake is a capable defender, but again, can be relied upon for the League Cup and the smaller Premier League games. A world-class CB and a natural LWB to rotate with Alonso is a necessity.
If Chelsea get the reinforcements mentioned above, they should be able to challenge for the Premier League title again. If not, it will be very difficult as their rivals are going to break the bank and make big-name signings.
Desi Musings is doing a whole series on what Premier League clubs need to do to improve in the 2017-18 campaign, and you can read our article for Manchester City as well, to know what Pep needs to do to land his first Premier League trophy!