Chelsea have spent £75 million on three new players so far during the summer transfer window. José Mourinho’s side have actually acquired a lot more.
The Blues were only four points off the pace at the end of last season, behind both Manchester City and Liverpool.
José Mourinho doesn’t go too long without winning a league title though. For the record he has never gone three seasons without winning a league title since winning his first in 2003. He’s now on a two-year stretch.
Here’s the Chelsea line-up that started the opening game of last season:
Chelsea have arguably strengthened in every position this season. Here’s how they can line-up this season:
It depends how you rate Thibaut Courtois against Petr Čech and Filipe Luís against Ashley Cole to say if the defence has strengthened or not.
The Czech Republic goalkeeper is still at the club and will potentially remain their number one this season.
Chelsea also have César Azpilicueta to cover both full-back positions. In the centre of defence, Ivanović can slip in, as well as having highly-rated youngster Kurt Zouma.
The protection in front of the back four upgraded in January with the signing of Nemanja Matić. Who will partner the Serbian is the big question. Ramires and John Obi Mikel are still at the club, Marco van Ginkel is back from injury, Oriol Romeu back from on loan and Cesc Fàbregas probably didn’t join the club to sit on the bench. The latter is far from being the best defensive option, so this would suggest a more-attacking line-up from Mourinho. Don’t expect to see it too often in the big games though.
Going forward, Willian replaced Kevin De Bruyne for much of last season. The pacey and tricky Mohamed Salah is another option as is German World Cup winner André Schürrle. Marko Marin and Victor Moses are both still at the club.
The options in attack for José Mourinho are Diego Costa, Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba. Schürrle too can play here and Fàbregas has experience. Mourinho signed Costa so you would expect the Spanish international to be his first choice.
Here’s a look at those individual players:
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
After three years on loan in La Liga with Atlético Madrid, we have to expect the 22-year old Belgium number one is going to replace 32-year old Petr Čech instead of wasting a season on the bench. Thibaut Courtois has shown his qualities in the Spanish league, UEFA Champions League and the World Cup and is already rated as one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
Left-back: Filipe Luís
The 28-year old Brazilian full-back played with Thibaut Courtois as part of the Atlético Madrid defence that conceded the fewest goals in La Liga last season as they went on to pinch the league from both Barcelona and Real Madrid. He is expected to replace César Azpilicueta in this position with the Spaniard naturally being a right-back. A defence-first Brazilian full-back and one who is very good at it.
Centre-back: John Terry
Another year old but José Mourinho still believes in his captain who saw his contract extended by a further year at the end of last season. John Terry was a rock at the heart of the Chelsea defence once again last season and there’s no reason for him to be replaced. This year he is backed up by a highly-rated young Kurt Zouma, instead of a mistake-prone David Luiz.
Centre-back: Gary Cahill
Looked dependable alongside the knowledge and know-how of John Terry last season, Gary Cahill was a big part of the Premier League defence that conceded the fewest goals in 2013-14. Unless they pull off the signing of Raphaël Varane from Real Madrid, there’s no reason for Mourinho to break up this solid defensive partnership.
Right-back: Branislav Ivanović
José Mourinho’s liked his tall full-backs in the past and stuck with Branislav Ivanović at right-back last season. He now faces competition from César Azpilicueta, whilst he offers backup at centre-back following the sale of David Luiz. It’s a coin toss who will Mourinho will go with this season but he has two good options none-the-less.
Holding midfield: Nemanja Matić
A top signing from Portuguese Primeira Liga champions Benfica in January, Nemanja Matić is a solid and dependable holding midfielder that protects the back four. Every title contender needs a great player in this position and Chelsea have that with their Serbian. It’s a case of who will partner him.
Centre midfield: Cesc Fàbregas
Chelsea splashed the cash to bring in the experienced centre midfielder from Barcelona. Cesc Fàbregas has played a more advanced role for Barcelona and Spain than he did for a lot of his time at Arsenal. The former Gunners captain could be used in the centre of midfield to dictate the game instead of the number ten role he has been playing. José Mourinho does like a powerful ball-winning midfielder in this position so I think Fàbregas will be used here in the less competitive games where Chelsea dominate possession and the result.
Left forward: Eden Hazard
Chelsea have one of the best players in the world playing on the left wing. Eden Hazard is a tricky customer who is involved in both a number of their goals and a high percentage of their successful attacks.
Attacking midfielder: Oscar
José Mourinho has a gifted attacking midfielder to play the number ten role and can even be replaced by Cesc Fàbregas if need be. After a quiet second half to the 2013-14 Premier League season, Oscar showed his ability during the World Cup this summer is scoring a pair of goals and doing his defensive side of the game.
Right forward: Willian
A good acquisition for Chelsea last season, Willian looks a shoe-in to maintain his place this season with only really Mohamed Salah and Ramires competing for his position. The Brazilian is a playmaker who works to get back and defend out of possession too. He comes up with a few goals too.
Striker: Diego Costa
The £32 million striker who impressed greatly for Atlético Madrid in winning La Liga last season. Diego Costa doesn’t face a great deal of competition for the starting role at Stamford Bridge either – Fernando Torres looks beyond repair and 36-year old Didier Drogba has been brought in to do a bit-part role. The Blues haven’t had much success with a number of big money strikers over the years so we’ll see how this season plays out for Costa.
This team has strength in depth and quality all over the park, so you cannot argue with Chelsea’s price of 3.00 to win the Premier League with Betfair.