After three long months of waiting the new Premier League season is finally upon us. For one side it’s time to think about how to retain the league title.
In the build-up to the new season we’ve been profiling each of the 20 top-flight clubs, from Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to Premier League new boys Brighton & Hove Albion.
Our final team in the spotlight is Chelsea…
Manager Antonio Conte couldn’t have enjoyed a better first season in charge.
The Blues capped a return to form after a disastrous 2015-16 by claiming the Premier League title and making an appearance in the FA Cup final.
However, this year they’ll have European commitments to juggle as well.
The league champions have added two more defensive minded players to compensate for the loss of Nemanja Matic, but the jury is out on how much they have improved the squad.
Chelsea also have issues up-front, with wantaway striker Diego Costa still lingering around Stamford Bridge.
Conte has been able to temper the Spaniard before, but this time there looks to be no way back for the 28-year-old.
It means that new signing Alvaro Morato will likely shoulder the burden of Chelsea’s scoring duties.
However, questions remain over whether the lightweight ex-Real Madrid man can replace the goals of the ruthless Costa.
The Stamford Bridge club still have quality running throughout the team, but with the big spending Manchester clubs now back in the fold, they’ll face a more difficult challenge this time around.
Chelsea – 2017-18
Key arrivals: Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger.
Key departures: John Terry, Nemanja Matic
Man to watch: Eden Hazard
Title odds: 7/2
Best bet: Top at Christmas @ 7/2
We say: It’s hard to really know where Chelsea are as the season approaches. They’ve made small gains in the transfer market, but the uncertainty regarding Diego Costa still hangs over the club. The good news for Blues fans is that in Antonio Conte they have one of, if not the best manager in terms of coaching in the league. Good coaching, particularly defensively, is often at a premium in the top-flight, so that makes Conte a valuable and perhaps underrated asset to have.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing