When AVB rocked up at Stamford Bridge, big money names were touted as imminent arrivals. Among these were Porto striker and star asset Falcon, who was rumoured to be replacing Didier Drogba, and Luka Modric, who was mooted to be desired to bring creativity to the midfield that was lacking in that area. However, none of these supposed signings have materialised, with the only notable event at Chelsea over the summer being the long term injury suffered by the ‘train’ in midfield Michael Essien.
Even then, his replacement was rumoured to be West Ham’s Scott Parker, who whilst it cannot be disputed had a great season last term, has been tried and tested by Chelsea where he did not live up to expectations the first time around, and with several more years under his belt, being the wrong side of 30 now, does not seem to be the ideal replacement for the Ghanaian who brings so much to the Chelsea midfield when fit. In short, Chelsea have done relatively little this summer, and seem to be relying on their current squad of aging players to wrestle the title back from United and gain that illusive Champions League trophy that Abramovich craves so much.
Manchester United have spent big this summer – and needed to, with many key players reaching the end of the twilight seasons of their career and retiring – De Gea was bought to replace Van Der Sar, the creative Ashley Young and Phil Jones have been bought to bring much needed youth to the squad and the imminent signing of Dutch Midfield maestro Wesley Sneijderlooks to be finally coming to pass. Add to this the resurgence in form for Wayne Rooney and continuance of Hernandez’s brilliance, Chelsea look to be a couple of players short to really push United for the title.
A huge factor for Chelsea will be the African Cup of nations, and if Fernando Torres is still not firing on any cylinder come January, Chelsea will seriously be lacking in fire power during a crucial part of the season, where titles are won and lost. The young Daniel Sturridge looks like he can add to their quality up front, and may score some vital goals this coming term. However, in the middle of the park, where Chelsea once looked invincible under Mourinho, they now look like coming up wanting.
Lampard is now older than the Chelsea manager, and last term had an injury hit season, where his goal tally that usually serves Chelsea so well was half of what he and the club would expect. The loss of Essien is huge, with Mikel still not being totally convincing and often being the player that holds up the Chelsea attack and plays passes sideways and back that Carrick would be proud of.
Ramires will be expected to continue with the form showed last season, having more experience in the EPL and being that little big older. Likewise, Chelsea youngster Josh McEachran looks a real star, not once looking out of his depth when playing pre-season and definitely one for the future – whether next season is a couple too soon remains to be seen, and the boy may well benefit from going out on loan to another premier league club for the season should first team opportunities not arise at the bridge.