After a season salvaged by winning the FA cup, the start of the new season could not come sooner for Chelsea. It’s another year for the Blues to try and erase their European demons, and reestablish their dominance in the league. With the other three members of the “Big Four” losing key members of their squad now is the time for Chelsea to capture the league trophy once more.
In the off season Chelsea did not lose any key members to their squad, and even added an exciting left back known as the “Russian Ronaldinho.” Yuri Zhirkov gives Chelsea more depth at the left back position and another option on the left side of midfield. Zhirkov’s ability to get forward will give Chelsea width on the left side as they move from a 4-3-3 to the diamond midfield. Zhirkov’s brilliance can be seen in this goal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhjJuc2Qxek where he dribbles through the entire Hamburg defense and buries his shot into the back of the net. Another important acquisition for Chelsea was the starlet from City Daniel Sturridge. The 19 year old gives the Chelsea frontline some youth along with Di Santo (20 years old), and Scott Sinclair (20 years old).
Before I discuss the Chelsea formation, a quick mention of some Chelsea youngsters on loan this season is in order. For the first time in awhile, Chelsea have some exciting young players who are on loan to Premier League sides and other first division sides around the world. The first of these youngsters is Franco Di Santo. Di Santo is a 20 year old tall Argentinean striker who is on loan to Blackburn this season. Di Santo is a tall striker who is good in the air and has good instincts around the net. Look for Di Santo to partner McCarthy or Jason Roberts for Blackburn and cause a headache for other Premier league sides. The second youngster on loan is Scott Sinclair. Sinclair is an U-21 England International who has amazing pace and creativity on the wing. Sinclair is on loan to Wigan where he will get the chance to give creativity to a generally boring Wigan side. The third youngster on loan in the Premier league this season is another England U-21 international Michael Mancienne. Mancienne is a center back who has come up through the Chelsea youth system and made a few appearances for the first team last season. The 21 year old is on loan to the recently promoted side Wolverhampton, where he will start as a center back for the club. All three of these youngsters getting regular first team action in the Premier League is crucial to their development and great for Chelsea in the upcoming years. An honorable mention needs to be made for another youngster Mirsoslav Stoch who is on loan to FC Twente. Look for Stoch to make an immediate impact for Twente.
The Chelsea formation is always an issue of great debate because of Chelsea’s depth. The new Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti prefers a 4-4-2 or sometimes a 4-4-1-1formation where the midfield plays in a diamond. The main problem with the diamond midfield is that most of the attack is down the center of the pitch. The lack of width in this formation causes problems on the attack and on defense. Because of this, any team who uses this formation must have two fullbacks who can provide width for the team. Chelsea have the two great fullbacks who can get forward in Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole. In order for Chelsea to be successful this season these two players along with Yuri Zhirkov need to have big seasons. With that being said here is the probable formation for Chelsea on opening day.
Bosingwa Terry Carvalho Cole
This formation does not include Joe Cole or Yuri Zhirkov because they are both injured to start the season. Joe Cole is an interesting player for Chelsea in this formation. The lack of wingers in the formation leaves Joe Cole out of his best position on the pitch. However, Cole can play on the right side of the diamond or even partner Drogba up top. Personally I would enjoy seeing Cole partnering Drogba which allows Essien and Mikel to be on the pitch.
With the formation set, there are three Chelsea players who need to bounce back from a season below their high standards:
1. 1. Petr Cech- Cech was once considered to be the best keeper in the world but has recently fallen far from his bet form. Ever since the last European Championship Cech has made stupid mistakes which has cost his team games. Cech needs to be the rock he once was in net for a Chelsea defense to return to its glory days where a clean sheet was the norm.
2. 2. John Terry- Before I get into this, I have to say that John Terry is my favorite player in the history of football and I worship him as if he is the second coming. With that being said he has not been the player he once was the past two seasons. In the Mourinho era Terry was the rock of the Chelsea defense, leading the defense and keeping the back four organized. In these last two years, the Chelsea defense has been a bit suspect. Terry has made mistakes that he would have never dreamed of making in the past. Hopefully this will be the season where Terry gets back on track and becomes one of the world’s best center backs again.
3. 3. Didier Drogba- Drogba was plagued by injuries last season but when he was on the pitch he looked uninterested and unmotivated. Drogba did not get along with Scolari and his performances on the pitch showed his dislike for the manager. When he is motivated and on his game, Drogba is one of the best strikers in the world. Look for Drogba to be back to his old goal scoring form this season after the signing of a new 3 year deal with Chelsea
As a Chelsea fan, it would be wrong not to give an honorable mention to two of the team’s most consistent performers. Look for these two dominating forces in the midfield to drive the Chelsea midfield forward and cause problems for whoever they play.
This is one of the most important seasons for Chelsea in recent years. With the other teams in England getting weaker, this is the time for Chelsea to strike and become champions of England once more. This will be one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory and I can’t wait for the action to start.