Chelsea Preview: Will The Blues Remain The Fashion This Season?

Chelsea pride themselves in being global entertainers more than anything else.

And more than anything else, the Premier League champions would like the tag of European champions, in keeping with their multi-national self-image. Especially the European Cup title that has eluded them.

In the last four years, Chelsea have entered one Champions League final and two semi-finals, and have returned empty handed.

This year could be the last opportunity for the core members of the team that made this possible.

Chelsea’s European ambitions have restricted the club, in that the UEFA insists on “financial fair play”.

The club is not short of money, by any stretch of imagination, but this has meant that Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich has had to trim his budget.

This has meant the departure of a big-name signing such as Joe Cole. Another player, Tomas Kalas, who came in from Sigma Olomuc for a reported 5.2 mn, will be loaned out.

In the upcoming season, the team will also not have the services of Miroslav Stoch, who will be sold to Fenerbahce for an undisclosed amount. Michael Ballack will leave for Bayer Leverkusen, Joe Cole for Liverpool, and Danny Philiskik for Oxford United, all as free agents.

Players out on loan will include Rhys Taylor to Crewe, Ryan Bertrand to Nottingham Forest, and Ben Gordon to Kilmarnock.

Carlo Ancelotti has been the club’s most successful coach. Chelsea became only the seventh team in history to win the ‘double’, comprising the Premier League and FA Cup titles, under Ancelotti’s watch, last season.

They failed to achieve this under Jose Mourinho, arguably Chelsea’s most successful coach ever.

In fact, Chelsea were so dominant in 2009/10 that they became the first team to top 100 goals, in an English season after Tottenham Hotspurs achievement of 111 goals in 1962-63.

Ancelotti owes his legendary patience to his rural upbringing. The ex-Milan midfielder won the Champions League twice each as a player and as a coach for the Italian side.

A potential weakness for Chelsea in the upcoming season could be in defence. Jose Mourinho the coach of the 2005 Premier League winning side built the team on a defensive platform.

John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Wayne Bridge were the defensive wall rival teams had to contend with before they could dream of beating Chelsea, five years ago.

Terry and Carvalho who remain are clearly aging, although Ashley Cole from Arsenal and Brazilian are great new options for Chelsea. Alex is not only solid in defence, but can also hunt with the hounds, and is a particular asset in free kick situations.

This is a team of big personalities, in John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and Didier Drogba. On the flip side, this could mean a potential clash between, say, Didier Drogba and the team’s bad boy, Nicolas Anelka.

John Terry, in particular, is the club’s most successful captain ever. With Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun replacing Joe Cole this season, they have one more potential captain.

England Frank Lampard was the driving force of the side in the last season, and his 30 club and international goals is an act that he could find hard to replicate, this time around.

Michael Essien, whom injury kept from doing World Cup duty for Ghana is the club’s most popular player, while the star of the future is 19 year old French teenager, Gael Kakuta.

Chelsea remain the team to beat this season.

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