The forthcoming Premier League season is arguably the most anticipated campaign in many years. The groundbreaking signing of Robin van Persie by Manchester United has certainly captured the imagination and notice of everyone involved in English football and therefore, before a ball has been kicked in anger the season has already had one of its biggest stories.
Over at Stamford Bridge, after having spent a tremendous amount during the close season, Chelsea should in theory be better equipped to challenge for silverware this term, but will that actually be the case?
Building from last season’s universally unexpected triumph is something that has been to the forefront of all those concerned with Chelsea since that glorious night in Munich in May. Having lost the colossus that is Didier Drogba, Chelsea has as yet failed to replace one of the Premier League’s greatest players and this may be where they find trouble. Certainly the signing of Eden Hazard in the face of stiff competition from the Manchester clubs was noteworthy and clearly a signal of intent, but has this signing along with the signing of Marko Marin and Oscar strengthened their spine to the degree that will allow them to prosper in what should be a titanic battle for supremacy in England this season.
One man who holds the key to their fate is Fernando Torres and his rebirth of sorts at the European Championships is something that should fill supporters of Chelsea with hope. If he were to recapture the form he magnificently displayed on a regular basis for Liverpool during their push for the title in 2008-2009, then come May we may be looking at the next champions of England. However would you really place your trust in the Spaniard after his forgettable contribution to the Chelsea side during his tenure there thus far?
Last season Chelsea was exposed regularly and with ease by some weak teams at the back. Granted they prevailed in the Champions League through some heroic rearguard action, but the 38 game Premier League exposed flaws that frankly have yet to be addressed. Clearly John Terry (albeit after a fine Euro 2012 campaign) was caught out time and again last season and his English partner Gary Cahill didn’t fare much better. While David Luiz, in spite of some eye-catching performances, withered when faced with the physical nature of English football. A central defender and a seasoned right back were desperately needed to address these issues, but so far these difficulties remain unaddressed. Maicon from Inter would have been the perfect signing and another powerful signal of intent, while Silva who departed Milan for Paris Saint-Germain would have fitted the bill at centre half. If Chelsea are, as is clearly obvious, determined to reclaim their stranglehold over the Premier League, then strengthening these positions was key. If they do not make a major defensive signing by the end of August, then personally I fear their problems at the back will rise to the surface as the season evolves.
However, Chelsea have the look of a team that will have a significant effect on the outcome of this year’s Premier League title. Perhaps with a defensive addition coupled with a striker of true quality like Falcao, who would certainly trump the signing of van Persie, they would be clear favourites to be crowned champions of England again. Therefore, in spite of the exciting signings already undertaken so far this summer, I believe that this season will once again be a disappointing one for the men from the Bridge in the Premier League.
I predict a fourth place finish for them with Arsenal overtaking them.