Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Chelsea preview – No Hazard, no problem?

Chelsea come into the season with a transfer ban hanging over their heads, a club legend in place as manager and without their star former star man, Eden Hazard. Next on our Premier League previews list is Frank Lampard and his Chelsea team.

State of Play

Frank Lampard will be looking to make his mark as Chelsea boss this season, but has he been given his dream job too soon? One thing is for certain, he takes the job in very uncertain times at Stamford Bridge as they suffer through a transfer ban and deal with the loss of their talisman, Eden Hazard.

This season, Lampard will have his work cut out if he wants to get Chelsea into the top four again. At the very least, he can thank Maurizio Sarri for helping Chelsea qualify for the Champions League this season, meaning they don’t have to worry about trips to the back end of nowhere on a Thursday night for Europa League ties.

The Champions League will also give Lampard and his young Chelsea team the opportunity to test themselves against the best in the world. This season, you’re likely to see a few of the fabled Chelsea youngsters make an impact in the first team. None more so than Mason Mount, the attacking midfielder spent last season on loan at Derby alongside Frank Lampard and Jody Morris – he’s a shoo-in for some well deserved game-time this season.

Pre-season has been an interesting few weeks for Chelsea. There’s been a couple of embarrassing results offset by a couple of great ones. They picked up four wins, two draws and one loss in their seven warm up matches. The loss came to Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale, while they also drew with Irish side Bohemians in Lampard’s first game as boss. After that, they then picked up an impressive win over Barcelona as well as a 5-3 thriller against Red Bull Salzburg.

Chelsea’s Signing of the summer… kinda

Normally, this is the place I’d give you my favourite signing of the summer for the club – but saying as though their only signing is Mateo Kovacic following his loan deal, I’ve decided to change it up. Instead, we’re doing “favourite returning Chelsea loanee” and I’ve opted for Mr Mason Mount.

Mount, who plays predominately behind the striker, is an extremely talented young English player who has every chance to be one of the breakout stars of the 2019/20 Premier League season. His ability to score goals, create goals just be an all around thorn in the side of any defence is not so different from the way his manager used to play – he could be a star for many years to come.

Kieran’s verdict

I think not being able to spend much money should be a bad thing, but for Chelsea it could be a blessing in disguise. It gives them the opportunity to use some of their younger players where they would normally just be shunted out on loan. I also think that in Frank Lampard and Jody Morris, they’ve brought in the best managerial team possible to get the best out of those youngsters.

The likes of Mount and Tammy Abraham may very well establish themselves in that Chelsea starting XI this season. When it comes to league position, I think Chelsea will be helped by the other sides around them. Arsenal haven’t strengthened enough at the back and Man United still look a shadow of the team they used to be. Due to that, I do see Chelsea just sneaking into the top four this season – maybe by a point or two over Arsenal.

It will be very interesting to see how they manage in their opening game of the season this Sunday, which will see them take on Manchester United. There’s definitely easier ways to start a season…

< Burnley

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