Chelsea have headed into every season of recent as one of the top contenders for glory in the Premier League.
This time is a little different being a new era at Stamford Bridge. The arrival of new boss Antonio Conte marks a different era, with the Italian being the 10th different manager in the Roman Abrahimovich period.
There might be less pressure to win titles from the very first season, results are expected nonetheless. Chelsea won the league in brilliant fashion in the 2014/14 season with Jose Mourinho. Just a year later, despite being favourites to retain the crown, Chelsea were 16th and close to relegation within a few months. They finally finished at the edge of the top ten, one of the lowest for a defending champion of the Premier League. After the turbulent year, only two players have been recruited so far. N’Golo Kante arrived from Leicester City and Michy Batshuayi from Olympique Marseille. The Foxes will miss Kante as he was a major force when they lifted the title in the last campaign. Conte will switch to a system that allows two strikers, so Batshuayi would be a key player.
However, there is a lot more to be done. Kante is a good buy especially for the middle but the Chelsea backline still requires work. John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic are set to start in the season’s opener against West Ham United on Monday night, even as West Ham is known to have one of the strongest attacks. Kurt Zouma is set for a return in September but the club needs a partner before the transfer window closes.
In the attack, Eden Hazard has a big role to despite going dark in the last term. He was impressive captaining the team at the Euro 2016. The fate of Cesc Fabregas is not yet known. Diego Costa is still set to start despite an underwhelming last season. The season is one of the high-profile ones with a influx of top managers, so Chelsea would need to put up a big fight still in their new era.