Why Cesc Could Be The Deciding Factor In Pushing Chelsea To Glory
There is a great deal of excitement and expectation which greets the start of a new season and with the purchases of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Filipe Luis and the return of Courtois nowhere is this more true than at Chelsea.
Last season ended in great frustration with Chelsea only needing to win the last 4 league games to be crowned champions. This coupled with Champions League semi-final left many wondering what if. What If we had a quality striker? What if we had another player to take the creative burden off of Hazard? This summer these issues were addressed leading to many people picking Chelsea as favourites for the Premier League.
Pre-season added to this sense of excitement with Costa and Fabregas slotting in seamlessly with both scoring eye-catching goals along the way. Whilst Filipe Luis and Courtois have both looked solid and will surely be first choice in their respective positions for the majority of the season. Defensively we were very strong last season there is a slight concern that effectively replacing David Luiz with Kurt Zouma makes us weaker. The 19 year old French international is a great prospect though doubts remain whether he is currently at the stage to play consistently well for a team that wants to challenge domestically and in Europe. This is why rumours persist that we are in the market for another centre back with Mehdi Benatia of Roma looking the most likely purchase.
Whilst the striker issue has been well documented, which looks to have been addressed providing Costa stays fit, the addition of Fabregas may well be the deciding factor in pushing us forward to title glory. He looks like having already struck up a great understanding with Costa with him laying on a couple of his goals. Expect Fabregas to play the majority of the time alongside matic, who having got a full pre-season behind him, will be even more important than he was in the second half of last season after his switch from Benfica. The addition of Fabregas also provides better flexibility when it comes to rotation of Oscar, who looked tired in the second half of last season (s well as having one eye on the World Cup too). Having two players deeper with excellent passing abilities will help when up against teams who sit deep and try and frustrate teaks which we struggled against at times last season. First test of this variety is likely in the first game of the season away to Burnley.
Playing a promoted team away first up brings back memories of the last time this happened at the start of the 2005/06 season. Chelsea as defending champions visited Wigan who were playing in their first ever top flight match. The performance was pretty poor with Wigan looking set to gain a creditable draw against the defending champions until a returning Hernan Crespo scored a sensational injury time winner which led to Mourinho famously telling then Wigan manager Paul Jewell they didn't deserve that. Ultimately that season ended with a league title and you wouldn’t bet against a repeat of that this one.