Chelsea Column: Could this be the start of a Title winning season?
Football is back. The Premier League is back, which means that my monthly Chelsea columns are back.
Chelsea are the reigning European champions which means that expectations have never been higher and there will be a lot more pressure of Tuchel this season.
The Premier League seems to be the target set by the fans, and given how Chelsea have strengthened over the summer, it looks like it could be in reach.
While I have been cynical on Chelsea’s chance, the last month has given me an insight on what could be a great season for Chelsea.
Have Chelsea already proven themselves championship worthy?
Chelsea have taken seven points from their first three games, breezing past Arsenal, and getting a crucial draw at Liverpool.
After going down to 10 men and conceding a penalty away to Liverpool, it did look as though Liverpool would run away with the game in the second half. However, Chelsea dug deep and held on.
Liverpool threw everything they had at Chelsea and a defiant defence stopped Liverpool getting a winner. Despite being a man down, it didn’t stop Chelsea getting forward and almost winning it themselves.
That result shows how far Tuchel has brought this Chelsea in the 8 months that he has been in charge. The Chelsea of old would have failed to keep Liverpool at bay, but the discipline in the defence is going to make it incredibly difficult for any team to score against Chelsea.
This goes to show that the result against Liverpool could be the result that defines them as Championship contenders this season, more so than the cruising victory over Arsenal.
Lukaku showed in that Arsenal game just how much of a difference he is going to make. Watching Werner linger offside and miss sitters was very painful last season. Lukaku kept himself onside and bullied the defence.
He did the same against Liverpool and if it wasn’t for some poor decisions in the final third, he could have scored a couple.
Chelsea have all the ingredients to do it, but there are still 35 games remaining and anything could happen.
Another fortunate Champions League draw
Next month, Chelsea will start their defence of their Champions League title. Considering the last time they failed to get out of the group stages, I’ll be hoping for better this time around.
Chelsea have been drawn against Juventus, just like in 2012, as well as Malmo FF and Zenit St. Petersburg. On paper, this should be a pretty simple group, and one that Chelsea will be expected to win.
Of course, PSG will be the favourite for the Champions League, but I wouldn’t rule out Chelsea going far in the competition again. Chelsea still have a very strong side and they are capable of beating each team in the competition.
I’m not expecting Chelsea to win the Champions League, far from it. I’ll be happy with the Quarterfinals and anything beyond that will be a bonus.
My expectation of Chelsea is just to compete in cup competitions and as long as we can do ourselves proud then I’ll be happy.
I am really looing forward to playing Juventus. It has been a long time since Chelsea have played Juve in a competitive game. With the Old Lady no longer having Ronaldo, I do believe that Chelsea have a better chance of topping the group.
I expect a big step up from English teams in the Champions League this season and I think it’s going to be very competitive, so if Chelsea can get into the quarterfinals then that will be an achievement.
What should be Chelsea’s goals for this season?
In terms of the Premier League, Chelsea have to compete for the title. People seem to think that Chelsea have to win it after the Champions League victory, but I don’t think that is the case.
City, United and Liverpool are all going to be very competitive this season. The battle for the league could be one of the closest amongst the top four that we have seen in a long time.
Chelsea are going to have to work hard if they want to come out on top spot, but whether or not it’s possible is still yet to be seen.
September is going to be a very tough test for Chelsea and their title hopes. First up after the international break is Aston Villa, followed by Manchester City and then Spurs. If Chelsea can go through that undefeated then their stamp on the title race will have been made.
As for domestic trophies, Tuchel will want to make up for the loss against Leicester in the FA Cup final last season. It feels like it’s been forever since Chelsea won a domestic trophy, despite being in a domestic final for the last seven seasons running.
It’s about time that someone ended City’s dominance in the EFL Cup, so that would be nice for Tuchel to get another one up on Pep.
With how good the top four in England are at the moment, it’s going to be very difficult to get any kind of double, so getting a domestic trophy will be a good season. However, I do expect Chelsea to go on a good cup run in both domestic competitions.
For Chelsea, competing for trophies has been the minimum requirement. Now that Tuchel has won the Champions League in his first season, though, winning trophies now have to become the minimum requirement
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