Chelsea Team Guide: Wise buys could signal big season for Blues

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Team Name: Chelsea

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Last Season: 3rd

Who they’ve signed so far: Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona, £27m), Diego Costa (Athletico Madrid,£32m), Mario Pasalic (Hajduk Split, £2.4m), Filipe Luis (Atlético Madrid, undisclosed)

Out the exit door: David Luiz (Paris St Germain, £40m), Ashley Cole (Roma, free), Samuel Eto’o, Henrique Hilario (both released), Frank Lampard (New York City, free), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach, loan), Demba Ba (Besiktas, £4.7m)

Key Man: Eden Hazard

HazardSticker

Not only did the Belgian top-score for the club last season with 14 goals to his name, he also provided assists for seven other strikes.

Although he may not have to carry so much of the front-line threat this year with the arrival of Diego Costa, his creative flair will be invaluable.

With the pressure on Costa to succeed as the spear-head of the Chelsea attack, Hazard will be key in ensuring the number 19 has a multitude of chances to make the most of.

Under the Radar: Marco van Ginkel

Having been dubbed ‘The New Lampard’ by former boss Peter Bosz, the 21-year-old missed most of his first season at Chelsea having suffered a serious knee injury.

But following some eye-catching performances in pre-season, the Dutchman could be in for a big season at Stamford Bridge.

With the aforementioned Lampard leaving the club, there are some big boots to fill in the Blues central midfield but van Ginkel the SW6 outfit may have found a long-term successor.

Team Liability: Fernando Torres

For a man who has netted 205 senior goals in 536 career outings, Fernando Torres sure does come in for some stick.

But the fact cannot be ignored that the Spaniard has operated at less than a one-in-five strike rate since his move to London.

Game time may be restricted even more in the coming campaign, but unless he can start firing them in again, El Nino’s stay in the capital could be approaching its climax.

Torres may need to improve on his pre-season finishing in the months ahead!

Title odds: 15/8

Best bet: To win Premier League and Capital One Cup @ 14/1

Our Verdict:

With Torres continuing to go through a frustrating patch, the signing of Diego Costa could do wonders for the west London side. The former Atlético frontman may be the missing piece in the puzzle if bringing over his Primera Liga form.

Following that arrival and other shrewd dealings in the transfer market, the Premier League title is well within the Blues� reach.

Add in the Portugese manager’s penchant for seeking domestic cups – Chelsea have won the FA Cup and League Cup three times in the four full seasons he has been in charge – a domestic double is far from a pipedream.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.