What Constitutes A Good Season For Chelsea.
After winning the Premier League last season Antonio Conte has begun his second season in charge at Chelsea. Seven weeks in and already, there have been highs and lows. A Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid, in Spain, a definite high as much as the opening day defeat at home to Burnley was a low.
With the Blues currently sitting in 4th place in the league and comfortably heading their Champions League group, when May arrives, what will constitute a good season for Chelsea?
Both Manchester Clubs look strong, however, Jose Mourinho`s United have yet to face real opposition, so the jury is still out as to how strong they actually are. City blew up last season, and though they`re looking good at the moment, can they maintain that momentum through the whole campaign? We know they`re good going forward but there are weaknesses in their backline. Chelsea weren`t able to expose them after Morata`s injury, but with plenty of games between the top six teams still to be played, the title is far from decided. If the Premier League title is heading to the north-west as most pundits believe, there`s no reason Chelsea can`t compete with, and beat the rest.
Second place last season, but Tottenham are finding life difficult, as predicted, playing at Wembley. It`s not so much that they are unable to win, or there`s a hoodoo, it`s simply, the cup final effect. Teams raise their game when they arrive at the national stadium.
Arsenal are just….Arsenal and although their results have picked up, and they showed some spirit at Stamford Bridge recently, will inevitably blow up at some point. Like death and taxes you know it`s coming.
As for the Liverpool, well they are still a club that flatter to deceive. The media wax lyrical about their attacking style but it`s their defensive frailties that continue to let them down, not to mention their lack of transfer nouce. As this summer`s window wound down, it was embarrassing how Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain flattered his eyelids at the Liverpool board and Jurgen Klopp and he was almost instantly on his way to Anfield.
Regarding the Premier League, at worst Chelsea ought to be looking at a third place finish. If they make some decent signings in January, then it could be game-on again. A lot of teams won`t buy in January, as it`s generally a seller`s market, but Chelsea have been known to make signings if needed.
On the Champions league front, we`ve already seen Antonio Conte is able to take his team into Europe and get a result. In Madrid, Chelsea outplayed their Spanish hosts for long periods. What impressed most was that, it wasn`t the usual backs to the wall, counter attacking victory we normally see.
Going forwards in the competition, if similar displays can be mounted, we know Chelsea can sit back, take pressure and still eek out a win. If they can attack teams from the start, whoever they are, they`ll struggle to compete.
There`s a good chance an English team will have a good run in the competition this season. City, United, Chelsea could all be in with a shout. In the rest of Europe, cracks are beginning to show. Bayern Munich are not the side they were, likewise Barcelona are now less feared. Paris St Germain are trying to buy their way to European glory and must be considered one of the favourites along with Real Madrid. Can Zinedine Zidane's side win it for a third consecutive season, it`s a big ask.
Should Chelsea come up against one of the Italian teams, they have the ideal man in charge to engineer a victory. In reality the real competition for Chelsea in the competition are any of the English sides, Real Madrid and PSG.
Over two legs any of them can be beaten, so for Chelsea the Champions League is a real possibility and another glorious night, this time in Kiev, in May can be dreamt of. But there`s an awful lot of games to be played before we get there.
As for the two domestic cup competitions, well, they can be a bit of a lottery. It all depends on team selection and the luck of the draw to a degree. Recent years have shown Chelsea are more than capable of winning either. The club take the competitions seriously, which a lot of teams don`t. Victory in either is possible, in fact probable. Should they come they could be the icing on the cake of another very good season for Chelsea Football Club.