The Chelsea Spot 2021/22 Season Predictions!

The season has begun and we’re two games in, with victories in both the Super Cup Final on penalties and against Crystal Palace on the opening gameweek of the Premier League season. Before the game against the Eagles, I asked our writers to give their season predictions, so let’s have a look at what they said…

Paree

Premier League Position – 2nd
POTS – N’Golo Kante
Academy POTS – Harvey Vale
Loan Army POTS – Conor Gallagher
Surprise Player – Hakim Ziyech
Top Scorer – Romelu Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (FA Cup)

Orlando

Premier League Position – 3rd
POTS – Kante
Academy POTS – Xavier Simons
Loan Army POTS – Billy Gilmour
Surprise Player – Timo Werner
Top Scorer – Kai Havertz
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (FA Cup)

Dan

Premier League Position – 2nd
POTS – Kante
Academy POTS – Xavier Mbuyamba
Loan Army POTS – Levi Colwill
Surprise Player – Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Top Scorer – Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (Carabao Cup)

Paree, Orlando & Dan discussed their predictions in much more depth here!

Brandon

Premier League Position – 2nd
POTS – Lukaku
Academy POTS – Vale
Loan Army POTS – Armando Broja
Surprise Player – Werner
Top Scorer – Romelu Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (Champions League)

Mash

Premier League Position – 2nd
POTS – Lukaku
Academy POTS – Jude Soonsup-Bell
Loan Army POTS – Armando Broja
Surprise Player – Trevoh Chalobah
Top Scorer – Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (FA Cup)

Following an incredible past 3 months for Chelsea, I can see us really pushing on this season. 2 major European trophies will have had a crazy boost on our morale, and as many of the boys have said, we have a real family at the Bridge again. And just to clarify, Trev will be surprising because I feel he will have a much bigger role to play than people may think this season, and I think Tuchel believes in Trev just as much as we do. UTC.

Michael

Premier League Position – 2nd
POTS – Havertz
Academy POTS – Thierno Ballo
Loan Army POTS – Levi Colwill
Surprise Player – Timo Werner/Kai Havertz
Top Scorer – Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (1 of the cups)

I think this next season is going to be interesting in terms of how we preform throughout the entirety of a season under Tuchel. I have faith in the squad to really be strong this year even before Lukaku, however he obviously improves us. A few things I’d like to see this season is a fair amount of minutes for Cal, and real development opportunities for our academy players. While it’s great to have these world class stars in our team and compete on all fronts, I do really hope we don’t overindulge and cast aside the potential we could sustain with guys on loan and in the dev squad right now.

Jon

Premier League Position – 1st
POTS – Havertz
Academy POTS – Soonsup-Bell
Loan Army POTS – Gilmour
Surprise Player – Hakim Ziyech/Trevoh Chalobah
Top Scorer – Timo Werner
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (Premier League)

Luke

Premier League Position – 1st
POTS – Havertz
Academy POTS – Tino Anjorin
Loan Army POTS – Broja
Surprise Player – Werner
Top Scorer – Romelu Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (FA Cup + Premier League)

I think with Lukaku coming in now, that’s the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle. We saw how defensively sound and snappy our build up play was towards the back end of last season, but now we have one of the best strikers in the world, there’s no excuse to not seriously challenge Man City.

Rob

Premier League Position – 2nd
POTS – Kante
Academy POTS – Charlie Webster
Loan Army POTS – Gilmour
Surprise Player – Hakim Ziyech/Trevoh Chalobah
Top Scorer – Romelu Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (FA Cup)

16 points is a substantial gap to close to a team that have just purchased Jack Grealish (and potentially Harry Kane) which may be a step too far for this young Chelsea team. The arrival of Lukaku has undoubtedly made us contenders but without a DM profile that will enable some more tactical flexibility for Tuchel, I think there will be a number of frustrating games that will cost Chelsea necessary points. The biggest test will be whether the likes of Rudiger and Christensen are able to retain their impressive form under Tuchel.

Sairam

Premier League Position – 2nd
POTS – Lukaku
Academy POTS – Charlie Webster
Loan Army POTS – Billy Gilmour
Surprise Player – Kepa *surname*
Top Scorer – Romelu Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (FA Cup + Club World Cup)

Frankie

Premier League Position – 2nd
POTS – Havertz
Academy POTS – Vale
Loan Army POTS – Conor Gallagher
Surprise Player – Mason Mount
Top Scorer – Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (Club World Cup + Carabao Cup)

It will be a grueling season that will need a lot of rotation to survive the 50+ games we will play this year. Coming off a Champions League triumph, the expectations are high for Chelsea and many people see Chelsea as favourites to win the League. This will be a new challenge for Tuchel and the players as I feel our current squad thrives on being the underdog.

Danny

Premier League Position – 1st
POTS – Mount
Academy POTS – Soonsup-Bell
Loan Army POTS – Gilmour
Surprise Player – Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Top Scorer – Lukaku
Will we win a trophy? – Yes (FA Cup)

We have the clinical number 9 we were crying out for, now it’s time to challenge City. Chelsea are going to need a fourth midfield option (Kante can’t play every week!) and Rubes could grab his chance in cup competitions and matches against lower table opposition. The King Romelu has returned and I expect him to feast on the countless chances he’ll be provided. We needed a clinical striker last season and now we have one capable of surpassing 20 league goals per season. Failing that, Jorginho to top score with 5 hop-skip-jump penalties.

Do you agree with our predictions? Make sure to let us know on our social media platforms or replying in the comment section below!


Chelsea Academy 2021/22 Season Preview

Pre-Season has begun and there aren’t that many weeks to go until the beginning of the new season. For Chelsea fans, that tends to be a very exciting time as normally there’s a new manager and a few new signings. This time, there have been 0 signings so far, and we have a manager which has been with us for almost exactly 6 months and has won us a Champions League on the way, so the current feeling is certainly a weird one.

I’ll leave all of that to another writer though. As any loyal fans of myself and The Chelsea Spot would know, we have a huge investment into the academy so in this article we’ll be looking at how the U23s could get on this season. There’ll probably be a better preview from @chelseayouth on thechels.net soon enough so I’d recommend reading that too.

The squad has changed A LOT from last season. We didn’t win anything last season, yet it was one of the most talented groups we have seen in a long time. To be fair, we did expect quite a few to be moving onto professional football this season – it’s just a shame that most are permanently rather than on loan. The likes of Dynel Simeu, Lewis Bate, Myles Peart-Harris, Marcel Lewis & Tino Livramento (set to join Brighton) have all moved on to other clubs, while some such as Henry Lawrence and Levi Colwill have gone on loan. All of these are names which even a partial viewer of the academy will recognise, which does really show some of the big players we have lost this season.

Opinion: Every player is different, the Chelsea first-team pathway is  tough, no blame for those leaving – Talk Chelsea
Only two have remained 😔

That necessarily may not be a bad thing. Yes, there may be a lack of experience at times, and there is a decent chance results don’t go our way in some games (hence I am already predicting a huge out of context cry on Twitter in a few months time from certain fans who don’t watch us when we’re not winning the PL2), but it’s going to be an extremely young squad and the amount they will learn will be incredible. One of the criticisms of the PL2 is that some players stick in there for too long and don’t break into professional football, but for most of these players who will be very young, they’ll generate an incredible learning curve coming up against players who are bigger and stronger than them. Remember when we had Terry, Batshuayi, Rudiger, Hazard and more playing for our development squad to develop fitness? Imagine a team of very young academy boys coming up against players like them – they’ll learn so much.

Chelsea’s first U23s fixture is only a few weeks away, as you can see in the graphic below made by the wonderful @chelseayouth, so let’s have a look at the potential squad we could be using this season…

Note: Chelsea’s first two home games are at Stamford Bridge to make sure to head down and support the boys!

Goalkeepers

Chelsea currently have four goalkeepers who could potentially play for the U23s – Lucas Bergstrom, Teddy Sharman-Lowe, Ethan Wady and Karlo Ziger. Bergstrom has been training with the first team for now just in pre-season, but the imminent arrival of Marcus Bettinelli as third choice keeper into the first team would pretty much destroy any chances of him moving up. Sharman-Lowe and Wady could perhaps try and get gametime somewhere else as we’ve seen them do before. Ziger was someone who was training a lot with the first team last season so where he plays will also be very intriguing. I honestly don’t know too much about the keepers’ situations to say much more.

Defenders

After looking at the defenders we have this season, there is a decent chance that Andy Myers will stick with the 3 at the back formation which he trusted so much last season. The first team playing 3 centre-halves also *could* (considering managers are sacked every 3 years probably not) influence the academy formations as incase anyone does need to step up from the academy, they will be much more used to the system.

Xavier Mbuyamba is the big name which most will be keeping an eye on this season. He’ll certainly want to crack on in the PL2 after looking extremely comfortable in the small amount of games he played towards the end of last season, and he’s one who could potentially move on loan in January if he has a very good six months.

Image
He’s not small…🤣

Sam McClelland is another one who should try to cement a starting place in the team (assuming he doesn’t leave on loan). The Northern Irish international has looked very much in place whenever he’s come into the team, with his height and ability on the ball being of real help to the squad. Bashir Humphreys is another one who featured in the FA Youth Cup team last season and will be wanting to push into the development squad eventually, as well as Alfie Gilchrist who has done very well at the U18s level and participated for a few minutes last season in the 23s.

At wingback, there are a few options with Harvey Vale being the main one after playing a lot there last season, although I would personally love to see him play further forward. Silko Thomas has a chance to push into the team as last season he made an appearance at just the age of 16 and looked promising while picking up a goal and an assist, and we could also see the man with the best smile Alex Kpakpe feature too. Like Vale, some wingers could drop deeper a tad and feauture in the role such as Dion Rankine who did play there last season quite a bit, as well as Nunn, Abu, Andersson, Taurianen and a few more of whom I’m sure I’ll talk about much more later.

Midfielders

The midfielders this season are going to be really fun to watch. Chelsea’s midfield has always been one of the most exciting parts of the teams, with us producing players with the quality of Loftus-Cheek, Mount, Gallagher, Bate etc on a constant basis.

Charlie Webster is next in line with those names and after 6 impressive months with the 23s, he’ll be looking to have a full season in the PL2 and impressing on the big stage at just the tender age of 17. Xavier Simons is a player who many have forgotten, but was once so impressive for us before he got two extremely unfortunate injuries in both his knees. Hopefully, his rehab has gone well and fingers crossed we could see him feature for us this season as the boy has an engine on him.

Joe Haigh’s contract was running out this Summer and his future was in doubt after some Premier League clubs were interested in him, but he eventually signed a two year new deal and will be wanting to impress this season. He’s a player who Chelsea fans will love watching this season as myself and a few other mates have compared his play style very much to Joe Cole. He’s agile and just loves to drive forward with the ball.

Players like George McEachran and Thierno Ballo could be leaving the club this season (either on loan or permanently) which opens up space for someone like Ben Elliot to try and get his footballing career back on track. Ben is someone who is full of talent and earlier on looked a real prospect as he captained multiple England sides, but with harsh injuries he struggled to really develop when expected. There is 100% still a player there and hopefully some football on a higher level will really challenge him and get him playing the level of football we know he can.

Not a bad midfield that…!

Forwards

This is certainly a position we are quite stacked in. For the U23s, I imagine Jude Soonsup-Bell and Bryan Fiabema will be the main two who will play up front, with George Nunn either featuring more at LWB or leaving the club. George unfortunately hasn’t impressed enough in the Striker position and him playing would just hinder Jude and Bryan’s progress there.

Jude hasn’t played for the 23s too much but has been tipped to be a top striker in the future with his large profile being of huge use and him smacking in goals for the other age groups. You can listen to our podcast episode with his brother, Zac, on all things Jude. Bryan played a lot more last season for the 23s and he started off very well with a screamer against Derby coming to mind, but afterwards struggled big time. Both will be hoping to get scoring at the PL2 level.

What an episode that was – so much insight…

Other strikers at the club who are more likely to feature for the U18s include Aleksi Heino who we recently signed (two hours after publishing it looks like he may have joined Wolfsburg), Malik Mothersille who has returned from a season loan at Derby County where he featured 13 times and also Jay Wareham, the new boy from Woking who has impressed in pre-season, who is known to score goals for fun.

Having many forwards at the club could tempt Andy Myers to play two strikers up top this season. It’s something we haven’t seen a lot at Chelsea academy level, but with more centre-backs than fullbacks, a few players who could play wingbacks and only a couple of box to box midfielders the 3-4-1-2 formation could be a real option for the gaffer. It reminds me of when we tried to play Abraham and Solanke together at academy level and a lot of the time Tammy was out wide coming inside. As it is, we all know Chelsea coaches are extremely versatile in which formations they want their teams to play and it’s generally also the most intelligent Chelsea players who can play in multiple different roles, so I’m sure there will be changes to the team and style of play throughout the season.

There is a chance we could see something like the above at times this season…

The UEFA Youth League is returning this season as well (touchwood) and despite it being an U19 competition, we’re still likely to enter the cup with a young squad. That and the Papa John’s Trophy (Checkatrade Trophy) should be an incredible experience for the boys, and I have no doubts there’ll be many scouts watching so it’s a chance for them to impress the world as we’ve seen so many Chelsea boys do in the past.

While writing this, I’ve realised that there isn’t actually much to say on the U18s because half of them will be moving up to the 23s, and the other half I haven’t watched enough to comment on. Putting too much pressure on 16 year olds would be harsh for me to do, but all I’m going to say is watch out for Leo Castledine. He featured for the 18s a decent amount last season at just the age of 15, so he’s got a real chance of pushing on this season.

I’m really looking forward to this season. Like I said before, at times results may not be going our way and things to the average viewer may look bad for the academy, but there is a lot of context to this upcoming season and hopefully these players can use it to really develop mentally and technically. We’ll be covering the academy in huge depth this season so make sure to follow us on all our social media platforms and tune in! You can listen to our academy season review and preview with Joe Tweedie here:

The season preview is towards the end of the episode…

Written by Paree

Players who could impress Thomas Tuchel in pre-season…

As reported by many and something we heard over a month ago, most of the Chelsea players begin pre-season tomorrow (5th July). We understand that the academy players are unaware of which building they will be training in as of now. Players such as Olivier Giroud and Kai Havertz who have just been knocked out of the EUROS competition will most likely have a longer break and not return to training this upcoming week, with the return date of players such as Ethan Ampadu being unknown.

In this article, we will look at some players who could feature in pre-season and potentially impress Thomas Tuchel. Obviously this doesn’t include all players, and some of these could head out of the club either on loan or permantly as they plan to have meetings with the club and manager in the next few weeks, but I’ve tried to talk about all the main ones.

Tiemoue Bakayoko

Ever since his 30 odd million move to Chelsea, it hasn’t been the best of times. In his first season he was struck with injury and although he had solid performances with Atletico Madrid and the FA Cup Final coming to mind, he also had disasterclasses such as that famous 4-1 loss to Watford.

He’s been on loan to Italy since, with the football there certainly suiting him a lot more. He’s had much better seasons at AC Milan and Napoli, with the latter liking him a lot. His agent has been talking plenty in the last few months, with him clearly trying to push a move to Italy this Summer.

Although, if things don’t go to plan, Bakoyoko could have a chance to impress Tuchel. If Declan Rice is seen as a too expensive option to the Blues, and we don’t go for our other targets such as Boubacar Kamara and Aurelien Tchouameni, the French midfielder is arguably the next best option for that defensive midfield profile which our squad is heavily lacking at the moment. Although it does look like he will be leaving the club, perhaps he may want to give it one final shot.

Lewis Bate

Lewis is someone who will almost certainly be going on loan this Summer, with many clubs being interested in the technical midfielder after two very impressive seasons in the academy. He’ll be looking to follow the likes of Levi Colwill who has already headed out to Huddersfield, and is following the path of many academy players who tend to leave on loan after they are ineligible to play in the FA Youth Cup.

He also does have a contract situation to sort out, with it running out next Summer. Chelsea would have to convince him to sign a new deal before leaving on loan, so that needs to be done as I’m sure many top clubs are also interested in him permanently.

He’s one who has trained with the first team this season for a few weeks under Lampard, and I’m sure he’d want to impress Tuchel too before going out on loan.

Michy Batshuayi

The forgotten man? Michy is arguably one of the best finishers at the club, but it just seems that his training isn’t good enough as called out by a couple of managers. It is frustrating since you can see the potential is there, but it just hasn’t worked out at Chelsea.

And neither has it at his Premier League loans, either. He had a nice spell at Dortmund, which perhaps could make the deal for Haaland 1% easier if they were interested in the Belgian forward, but other than that he has struggled. With the striker chase for Chelsea looking very difficult at the moment and with Giroud’s and Abraham’s future at the club in huge doubt, there could be a small chance he sticks around as the third striker.

Armando Broja

Armando is someone who’s development in the last two years has been one of the quickest I’ve ever seen. From going to a player who wasn’t even part of the U18s, to the next season starting for 6 months as the main striker at U23 level while making his Chelsea debut, and then heading out to Holland’s first division on loan the season after that, is incredible and huge praise should be sent to him.

His first loan at Vitesse was certainly a great one. He scored many goals and he would have learnt so much about the men’s game. However, I still believe there’s a lot more work he needs to do with his buildup and linking up play, although I have no doubt that this will certainly come with time and experience.

There have bee a few links of him sticking around and signing a new deal, so I guess we will have to see what Tuchel has in plan for the Albanian forward.

Tino Livramento

The man who is being talked about the most at the moment. With the club’s desire of a player like Hakimi who we missed out on as well as the possible pursuit of Adama Traore, that certainly wouldn’t have convinced the academy player of the season too much.

His contract runs out next Summer, and Chelsea will be desperate for him to sign that deal as he is very highly rated by the England camp and from clubs all across the world. Many have said ‘let him go out on loan’ which people are not realising is as easy as they are making out. Chelsea will not let him go out on loan unless he signs a new deal, and if we don’t show him any pathway into the first team then he simply won’t.

This pre-season is a big chance for him to show to Tuchel that he’s good enough for this squad, whether that’s this season or next. I’m sure he’s very much looking forward to pre-season as at it stands he’s the only proper RWB in the whole of the club available to Thomas, so he certainly has a chance. He’s definitely got a big month ahead.

Dujon Sterling

I kind of lied when I said Tino was the only RWB in the whole squad – Dujon is more than definitely still around. After returning from injury and illness, he played with the 23s for just less than 6 months and found himself impressing week in week out.

There have been a few small reports of him sticking around and Tuchel wanting to see what he can offer, so hopefully he’s ready to smash it. A new deal needs to be sorted though, so keep an eye on that.

Ethan Ampadu

A very very interesting one. With the profile desired, Ampadu could be the perfect player for Tuchel. Despite him being one of my favourite players, I have no doubt in saying that at this very moment he is behind the likes of Declan Rice in terms of ability, but if Chelsea want to save some money then he’s absolutely right there.

It has been reported that we are looking for a player who can play both in defensive midfield and centre back, hence the links to Boubacar Kamara and Rice, and that’s Ethan’s best two positions. Although in general his two loans have been a slight failure with him getting close to little game time at RB Leipzig and going down to the Championship with Sheffield United, he still has shown potential with the Champions League game against Spurs coming to mind and in general for Wales he’s great.

He’s another one to keep a very close eye on. In my personal opinion, he should definitely stick around this squad.

A chance for these two? (Image Source: Getty Images)

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley…it’s a weird one with him. Every pre-season he impresses and he looks like the next Frank Lampard, and not long later he looks like the next failed player who will be part of the ‘streets will never forget’ list.

He’s someone who could arguably play in that inside forward role or in midfield, so maybe he has a chance to impress Tuchel, but we’re going to need a lot more consistency from him and that comes from hard work on the training pitch.

Personally, I suspect him to leave on a permanent deal.

Trevoh Chalobah

A player who has definitely gone under the radar. He’s another one like Ampadu who can play in both positions of defensive midfield and centre half, so perhaps also has a chance to impress Tuchel.

He had a great loan at FC Lorient in the Ligue 1 where he would’ve gained so much experience playing against some of the best players in the world, and we all know the French league is extremely physical so in that sense he’d find the transfer over to Premier League easier.

I unfortunately suspect he may want to move on and kick on at a club permanently, but who knows these days. Maybe…

Marc Guehi

Another big talking point. Marc has done absolutely brilliantly out on loan at Swansea and most Chelsea fans have wanted to see how he does. Chelsea fans saw glimpses of him with very impressive games against Manchester United and Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup before he went on loan for 18 months, and ever since they have kept an eye on him.

It’s going to be difficult though. We currently have Thiago Silva who signed an extension till the end of this upcoming season, Andreas Christensen who is expected to sign a new deal some time soon, Antonio Rudiger who’s looked like a world class centre-back for 6 months, Kurt Zouma who could leave but reports have stated we will sign someone if that was the case, as well as Azpilicueta and Reece James who have both been used heavily at RCB too.

If Chelsea were to sign someone like Sule or Kounde though, then that would surely be over for Marc’s career at Chelsea and I’m sure he’s got the brains to move to another club. For him we need to show that there is a pathway into the first team and he’ll certainly want to impress Tuchel in these next few months.

Henry Lawrence

Since I mentioned Lewis, I thought I’d mention Henry very briefly too. Someone who has become too good for development squad now, he needs to look at playing professional football as with his such high footballing intelligence and versatility I’m sure many Championship and League One clubs will be looking at him.

Again, a player who Tuchel could actually like a lot with him switching between the 3 and 4 at the back formations. A few months ago when the first team was on international break, we were told that Henry trained with the first team and really impressed the coaches.

He should go on loan and get as much as a full pre-season as possible, but let’s see what happens.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

It’s hard not to get sad when thinking about Loftus-Cheek and what could’ve been. Under Sarri he was playing like he was one of the best midfielders in the world, and then that terrilbe injury happened in a game which many won’t forget…

Unlike most, I think his loan at Fulham was actually decently successful. Yes, at times he looked incredibly rusty, but that was always going to be the case and the most important thing was that he got minutes and time to get his fitness back.

Reports state that he’s a player who Tuchel is really looking forward to seeing in pre-season. It’s difficult, because I still think he needs another 6 months to get back to full confidence and ability, but whether he’ll get that is another thing. With better players around him perhaps he could perform better… I still haven’t given up all hope with RLC.

Tino Anjorin

Again, another sticky one. I think it’s very important he heads out on loan now and gets some professional football in his locker.

He’s arguably had a ‘season loan’ at Chelsea for one year after moving to the first team training permamently, and he certainly would have learnt so much working under Thomas Tuchel and Frank Lampard, as well as training against some of the best like Thiago Silva.

He’s at the age where he needs to get some minutes, and if he goes to a league like the Championship he could absolutely smash it. He even started one of our Champions League games out of position and impressed, so there’s no doubt with a good pre-season and gametime he could do very well. He’s shown Tuchel what he can do in training, and now he must show the world what the talented midfielder is about.

A big pre-season for these two… (Image Source: Getty Images)

Conor Gallagher

Again, on the first eye, Gallagher’s loan to West Brom may not have been great. But, he had a full year of Premier League experience and was definitely one of their brighter players.

I actually think he’s a player who Tuchel will really like a lot. He’s someone who runs about so much and has as much energy as Mason Mount, and is as versatile with him easily playing in the 8 and 10 role, and if worse comes to worse at the 6.

Tuchel could definitely see him as a very useful utility player and I’m sure if Conor was told he would be involved in a few Chelsea games this season, he could stick around. If he does go on loan, I greatly believe it should be to a Premier League team which play a much better way of football.

Do you agree with my comments? Is there any obvious one I’ve missed out on? Let me know on our social media platforms!

Written by Paree

Podcast: Academy Season Review w/ Joe Tweedie!

Exclusive Academy Transfer Updates w/Scott Trotter! The Chelsea Spot Podcast

  1. Exclusive Academy Transfer Updates w/Scott Trotter!
  2. Mount shines against Bournemouth & Enzo Fernandez to the Blues?!

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) were joined by Chelsea guru Joe (Guest – JoeTweedie) to discuss last season’s academy success especially with individuals such as Bate, Colwill, Lawrence, Lewis, Livramento. We then also look ahead to next season as to which players should be leaving on loan and who could move up into the 23s permanently. 

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Big Squad? Sure. Best Squad? No Chance.

Before 8pm last night, Chelsea Twitter was in a great mood. We were one of the favourites to win the League, Jamie Carragher and Jurgen Klopp said Chelsea had the best squad in the Premier League, and fans were getting excited as we were on a 17 match unbeaten run.

There was only one man who disagreed with that and constantly said it throughout press conferences that we couldn’t be compared to Liverpool and Manchester City, and that man was Frank Lampard (and myself who said in the Everton preview that Chelsea fans were getting too complacent, and a few others, but you get the point). And he was absolutely spot on; as Chelsea lost to Everton 1-0, and all of a sudden we now have to challenge for top four. The Chelsea manager kept on repeating himself how you can only win titles with consistency, and last night showed we’re not there, yet.

There are a few reasons we’re not consistent enough at the moment, and they all make sense with context. The main reason though is despite what people are saying, we simply do not have that strong of a squad compared to the big boys. We definitely have a big squad, but that doesn’t really matter. At The Chelsea Spot, we always say quality over quantity, and that’s something we do not have at the moment in the Chelsea squad.

Our B Team

I think Chelsea’s lacklusture performance against Krasnodar sums it up, but I’ll go into detail with it. For this, I’m going to assume our best lineup is this one (although that is never really a thing): Mendy, Chilwell, Zouma, Silva, James, Kante, Mount, Havertz, Ziyech, Werner, Pulisic. You can have your own opinion on your best lineup, but this is just the model I’m going to use to show exacly what I mean.

After Mendy we have Kepa. The worst goalkeeper in Premier League history. That’s not a great start is it? Willy Caballero – he’s average, old, and not really up to the high standard. After all, he’s older than Petr Cech who’s our technical director (although he is playing tomorrow vs Spurs with the development squad). So, if Mendy gets injured or has to leave to go to AFCON, we’re in trouble big time.

Ben Chilwell has been brilliant so far this season, but he’s a player who will have a few bad games in the season and will make mistakes as he’s still young. Normally you’d have a player who could come in for him when he’s struggling to do a job – nope, not in our case. Chilly-B has Emerson and Marcos Alonso behind him, both players who the club want to leave but they can’t afford to lose both at the same time. Emerson is actually decent on the ball, but has the defensive positioning of a donkey, and Marcos Alonso hasn’t played a single minute for Chelsea after his row with Frank Lampard at the game against West Brom. Lampard definitely doesn’t trust them both, and playing Azpilicueta would probably make more sense, but Frank has been opposed this season to using inverted fullbacks. It’s against the style of play, and also Dave is playing a lot of the time on the right hand side when James is resting. If Chilwell gets injured, we’re pretty much screwed.

Our centre backs – they’ve been a breath of fresh air this season. Zouma has been scoring from corners like it’s nothing, is winning every header in in his own box, and next to Silva they are building a great partnership. Thiago has changed our team completely, adding so much composure on the ball, experience and has shown so many good moments of defending (although, his worst game was probably last night vs Everton). Behind the Brazilian centre-back we have Fikayo Tomori, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. Tomori’s situation at Chelsea is just bizarre, that’s for another article. So, if Silva gets injured, we’re back to the same defence as last season, which was extremely leaky. Rudiger always has a mistake in him and Christensen has looked good this season, however when it comes to being physical that’s certainly not his strong point. So, if Silva can’t play, we could be back to the dodgy defence from last year.

James has definitely been our best and most consistent player this season, and the improvement from last season has been exceptional. After him we do we have Azpilicueta who can certainly do a job, so I won’t complain too much about our RB situation, but again Dave is nothing like Reece and is a lot more negative (football playing wise) so Hakim would struggle not having a constant overlap. Henry Lawrence is probably our next best option at RB, and as much as he’s my favourite academy player, he could be leaving in January on loan and probably isn’t ready to play every single week in the Premier League.

To the average Premier League fan, they will think we are stacked in midfield. But are we actually in the style of play we are pushing towards? I think it is very clear that Frank Lampard wants to play with the 4-3-3, with two number 8’s. Kante isn’t even a number 6 naturally! So we don’t even have a defensive-midfielder at the club, and behind N’Golo we have Jorginho who cannot defend for his life, and Billy Gilmour who yes can certainly do a job there, but isn’t your ideal 6. For the box to box type of midfielders, we have Kai Havertz and Mason Mount. Mateo Kovacic has played there a lot more this season but he still isn’t naturally an 8 and doesn’t offer the goal threat required in the 8, so your next two players who can play there are Gilmour and Tino Anjorin. Don’t get me wrong, both exceptional players and can do a good job for us this season, but both have been linked with loan moves away this January and if one of Kai/Mason were to be injured, we will be lacking experienced and ideal replacements.

Our attack to be fair, we’re quite stacked in. We have three clear wingers, and three strikers, one of which can certainly play out wide (although Frank thought Tammy would also be able to do a job at LW yesterday…). Yet, somehow we still struggled in attack against Everton! All three of our wingers are out at the moment, but we’re hoping that these are just short term injuries. Our backup to Pulisic and Ziyech out wide includes Hudson-Odoi and Werner, which is brilliant, and up front Timo Werner has Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud on his neck, who are again both top strikers. So despite us having to play Havertz and Timo last night out wide and it not working at all, in a few weeks time we should be back to normal.

Very young & inexperienced squad

That’s enough about the squad depth, hopefully that shows you that we do have numbers, but in a lot of areas we are lacking proper quality. Look at yesterday’s bench vs City’s bench, and you’ll see the difference.

Another reason that we don’t have the best squad is due to this team being very inexperienced and young, as expected before coming into this season. Most pundits and fans wouldn’t have put us as clear title challengers, so what has changed? I think most of us would have said comfortably top four, and to close the gap between us and the top two. That still seems very reasonable.

About half of these players have only played one season in the Premier League, and the other half are new to this team. Our most experienced players are Kante and Silva, while Silva has never played in the pace or the intensity of the English League before. Ben Chilwell and Zouma are our next players with more experience in the top flight of English football, but even then they are both still young guys who have a lot to improve on in their game. As brilliantly as they did last season, we saw it took time for the likes of Mount, James, Abraham and Tomori to get used to the League, and that’s only going to be the same with the likes of Havertz, Werner and Ziyech. On top of that, a lot of these guys have never played with each other before, so it’ll also take time for them to get used to each other’s movements.

Many sources have reported that Frank Lampard’s project is going to be a three year plan, and that’s when you’ll see the likes of Rice come in, and other young experienced players at the top level, like Gimenez/Alaba/Haaland. Imagine in 5 years time, when Chilwell, James, Mount, Havertz, Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham and Werner will all be in their prime. Lampard would have also learnt from inevitable mistakes on the way, and we could be an absolute force in Europe. I’m not saying we should give Lampard 5 years to win a trophy, but I’m just showing you what the future will look like if we give these players time. Klopp needed time and investment, Guardiola needed time and investment – that’s called building for the future and as part of the process. Lampard needs time and investment, and I’m sure he’ll get both.

To summarise: can Chelsea win the league this season? Possibly. Can you expect Chelsea to win the league this season? NO. Frank needs time. The players need to time to get used to the league. The players need time to get used to playing with each other. It’s all part of the process.

Do you agree with me? Make sure to let me know on our social media platforms!

Written by Paree

Podcast: Premier League Predictions – Best Signing, First Manager Sacked, Bottom 3 and more!

We’ll have a look back at these in 10 months…

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Dan (Host – @danbarkzr) and Orlando (@0rland1nho) make their Premier League predictions ahead of the new season (recorded four days ago)! Talking about top 6, bottom 3 , top scorer, POTY, first manager sacked, and a lot more!

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Podcast: Chelsea 2019/20 Season Review w/@ExpectedChelsea (Part 2)!

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and special guest EC (@ExpectedChelsea) discuss the Chelsea season as a whole and talk specifically about trends which could go into next season, player ratings over the season, improvements in coaching staff needed and much more!

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Podcast: Chelsea 2019/20 Season Review w/@ExpectedChelsea (Part 1)!

What a season…

In our twenty ninth episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and special guest EC (@ExpectedChelsea) discuss the Chelsea season as a whole and talk about some key moments on the way, including our incredible comeback against Ajax as well as beating Spurs and Arsenal Away in a week!

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Podcast: Reacting to End of Season Predictions + Twitter Q&A!

In our twenty eighth episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Dan (Host – @danbarkzr), Orlando (@0rland1nho) and The Chelsea Spot writer Ameya (@LampardsLegacy) look back at their predictions from 9 games ago, and also answer YOUR questions!

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Reacting to our predictions from 9 games ago..

Podcast: West Ham 3-2 Chelsea Match Review & Watford Preview!

In our fifteenth episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Danny (@danny_new_), Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and The Chelsea Spot writer Jordan (@brighty160) discuss the shambolic defending in Chelsea’s 3-2 loss to West Ham, as well as looking ahead to Watford on the weekend.

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The Chelsea Spot Podcast #7 – Chelsea Season Awards (So Far!)

The Season Awards So Far…

In our seventh episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Dan (@danbarkzr), Orlando (@0rland1nho) and Danny (@danny_new_) discuss the Chelsea Season awards up till now, with some very interesting debates and awards….

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