La Liga Additions:
The 2012 Champions League victors will certainly have a newfound Spanish influence in their squad this season. Two of the key summer signings, Atletico Madrid star striker Diego Costa and left back Filipe Luis, will very likely be placed in the starting squad right away. That will also be the case for another Spaniard, former Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
The Blues didn’t have many weaknesses last season, but the addition of Costa in particular will be essential in the team’s chances of winning the Premiership as well as the club competitions. Chelsea lacked a true number 9 throughout the 2013-2014 campaign. Strikers Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba have departed Stamford Bridge, leaving Costa, Fernando Torres, and possibly Romelu Lukaku up top, if Jose Mourinho decides to keep the Belgian.
Battle In Net:
The biggest question in the team other than forward could very well be who will be starting in net. Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech is still world-class at age 32, but Thibaut Courtois has returned to the Bridge after a stellar year on loan at Atletico Madrid and for Belgium at the World Cup. Cech won’t want his role reduced to that of a bystander, but Courtois is way too good to sit out.
The departure of left back Ashley Cole also provoked a move from Mourinho to sure up an already solid back line. It appears Luis will be the man to take over. Cole didn’t see a great deal of playing time last season, but the move will allow Cesar Azpilicueta to play a more natural right back position. There will surely be interchanging roles throughout the outside backs though, especially with a player like Branislav Ivanovic in the team.
One area where Chelsea look pretty set is in the midfield. Mourinho likes to utilize two holding midfielders, and the addition of Fabregas will likely pair him with Nemanja Matic. Both men are more than capable of making a challenge, as well as possessing and distributing the ball. A little further up the field is where things may get tricky for the Chelsea boss, not due to a lack of options, but instead an overabundance of capable players.
Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Willian are the likely candidates to start for the Blues when they open against Burnley on Monday, August 18. These three were common selections last season and will play important roles in helping Chelsea capture another Premier League title. Hazard in particular is essential in the attack, especially after bagging 17 goals in all competitions in 2013. This is a squad with great depth though, and the London side won’t be short of options.
World Cup champion Andre Schurrle will see the field a lot this upcoming season, after putting together some great matches this summer for Germany. Brazil’s Ramires has played an important role in the squad before, and will certainly play a role this year, even if his minutes are scaled back.