The most competitive League in the world, English Premier League is coming back on 8th August and the countdown has already started. English Premier League holders Chelsea will begin their season in the FA Community shield on 2nd August against arch rivals Arsenal who won FA Cup last season.
So, where do the champions stand ahead of the start of the campaign? We will be reflecting that on this article.
Chelsea have the best squad in the League on paper and they won the league with three games in hand last season. A manager like Jose Mourinho, who has won almost everything in his managerial career, will guide the team. The current squad of the Blues is–
Goalkeepers- Thibaut Courtois, Asmir Begovic, Jamal Blackman
Defenders– John Terry (captain), Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Nathan Ake
Midfielders- Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic, Ramires, John Obi Mikel, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Willian, Juan Cuadrado, Bertrand Traore, Mohamed Salah, Victor Moses, Ruben Lofus-Cheek, Nathaniel Chalobah
Forwards- Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao, Loic Remy, Dominic Solanke
Asmir Begovic – Stoke, Undisclosed
Nathan – Atletico Paranaense, Undisclosed
Danilo Pantic – Partizan Belgrade, Undisclosed
Patrick Bamford – Crystal Palace, Loan
Didier Drogba – Released
Marco van Ginkel – Stoke, Loan
Danilo Pantic – Vitesse Arnhem, Loan
Christian Atsu – Bournemouth, Loan (subject to Premier League approval)
Josh McEachran – Brentford, Undisclosed
Tomas Kalas – Middlesbrough, Loan
Gael Kakuta – Sevilla, Undisclosed
Mario Pasalic – Monaco, Loan
Kenneth Omeruo – Kasimpasa, Loan
Andreas Christensen – Borussia Monchengladbach, Loan
Isaiah Brown – Vitesse Arnhem, Loan
Lewis Baker – Vitesse Arnhem, Loan
Jordan Houghton – Gilliingham, Loan
Best Starting Line up and predicted tactics-
Jose Mourinho prefers to play in 4-2-3-1 formation. He used his team in this formation last season also but the tactical mastermind switched tactic in many matches according to the situation.
Although,The Potuguese is likely to play in 4-2-3-1 formation in most matches. Courtois will be the first choice goalkeeper. The starting line up in this tactics is likely to consist a back four of Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill and Azpilicueta with Zouma competing with the center back duo for a starting place.
The best two central midfielders would obviously be Matic and Fabregas. Matic is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and beside him Fabregas can play freely which extracts the creativity at its mot from the Spanish. We have seen the duo dominating all midfields in the League last season.
The strongest attacking third will be Hazard at the left, Oscar at the center and Willian at the right. The trio worked brilliantly for the Blues last season. Cuadrado and Salah (if he stays) will be competing with the trio for a position.
Now comes the center forward position. Diego Costa is likely to be the number one striker for the Blues this season ahead of his former Atletico teammate Falcao unless the later finds his best form.
The line up will be like this-
Just as I have said that Jose Mourinho will have a hard time to select the center forward for the Blues if Falcao finds his best form. If the Colombian can become lethal like his older days again, the Portuguese may shift into a formation with two strikers up front. In my opinion, 4-4-2 diamond is the formation he may shift to. The back four will remain the same with Courtois under the bar.
Nemanja Matic will play at the base of the midfield with Fabregas playing as a central midfelder. The other central midfielder position will be occupied by either of the Brazilians Willian and Oscar but Jose may prefer Willian due to his better work rate.
Hazard, the side’s prime creator will play at the tip of the midfield on a free role. The two strikers will be Falcao and Costa who know each other very well from their Atletico days.
The line up will be like this-
Eden Hazard-The Belgian is arguably the best player in League. He was awarded PFA Player of the Year last season and PFA Young player of the Year in season before that. The only player to be nominated in UEFA European Player of the Year award, is going to play a key role for the Blues again this season and his performance is going to be a deciding factor for them.
Nemanja Matic- The Serbian international was included in the PFA Team of the Year last season and by far the best defensive midfielder in the competition. With his good defensive abilities, the midfielder plays a key role in creating chances as well and dictates the tempo of the game. He has been irreplacible in Chelsea team since joining from Benfica and he performance will be another defining factor for the Bkues.
Players to watch out for-
Radamel Falcao- The Colombian had a disappointing loan spell at rival Manchester United last season. The Colombian international is a player to watch out for as Mourinho is determined to help him to reach hi best once again.
Branislav Ivanovic- The Serbian is one of Chelsea’s long term servants and the defender plays a huge role both defensively and offensively for them.
Predictions– Chelsea have a winning combination intact in their squad and have acted wisely in the transfer market so far. They are linked with Everton’s 21 year old defender John Stones whose inclusion will improve their squad even more not only in present but also in future. Jose Mourinho, one of the best managers in the world, is in charge at Stamford Bridge for two years now in his second spell and we can expect them to retain the League again this season on his third season at the London Club. Chelsea are favourites to win the Premier League with contending tightly for other competitions as well especially UEFA Champions League.