Why Chelsea will be the team to beat next season
Despite a shaky start, Chelsea’s current season hasn’t been entirely a lost cause. Roberto di Matteo’s early dismissal created reason for the fans to worry, however, interim manager Rafa Benitez has salvaged the Blues’ pride by guiding the team to victory in the Europe League and a top-four finish in the Premiership.
Despite this success, the ex-Liverpool boss has remained unpopular amongst the majority of Chelsea supporters and at the end of the current season he is set to walk away from his current role at Stamford Bridge.
This summer will spell huge change for Chelsea as the club prepare to take on yet another manager. Notwithstanding this, the Blues are going to be the team to beat in the Premier League throughout the 2013/14 campaign. I can confidently make this claim for a whole host of reasons.
Quality and experience
The current squad at Chelsea is heaving with talent, especially in attack. The team can already call on match winners Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar, whilst the rest of the squad creates an extremely strong starting line-up.
Rafa Benitez believes that his tenure as interim manager has set the side up for a stronger title challenge next season. The team has been in transition throughout the last 10 months, with the players improving and gaining vast amounts of experience. The youngsters now have familiarity of competing for trophies both domestically and in Europe – a vital quality of a championship contending side.
Furthermore, the older players amongst the ranks have all experienced championship success in the past. John Terry and Ashely Cole’s involvement will benefit Chelsea during their title challenge next season. Meanwhile, record goal-scorer, Frank Lampard has just signed a new 1-year-deal with the club.
The ‘Special One’
With the stage set for ‘the Special One’ to return, all eyes will be on Stamford Bridge within the next few weeks. After 6 years away from London, Jose Mourinho is soon expected to return to the club where he won two Premier League titles between 2004 and 2007.
The Portuguese manager is the most successful coach in Chelsea history, leading them to five major trophies in five seasons and he has provided this quality of achievement wherever he has taken control. Having won the Champions League twice with Porto and Inter respectively, plus domestic titles in Portugal, Italy, England and most recently, in Spain, with Real Madrid, he is a manager with huge pedigree.
The 50-year-old seems to have succeed wherever he goes. He demands a certain respect from his players, whilst his discipline, mind games and winning mentality guarantees positive results. Mourinho will provide all the qualities needed for Chelsea to challenge for the Premier League again. His managerial ability paired with the current set-up is the perfect formula for even greater triumph.
Finally, let’s not forget he’ll have a point to prove after what he has declared ‘the worst season of his managerial career.’ With all this in mind, we’re in for a very exciting campaign should Mourinho return to Stamford Bridge.
Unlimited transfer funds
Furthermore, Roman Abramovich’s bottom-less wallet will provide the perfect opportunity for the incoming manager to establish/re-establish his mark on the team before the beginning of next season.
Rafa Benitez has speculated during an interview that his successor will have a significant amount of money to spend in the upcoming transfer window. This could be as much as £100 million.
In recent weeks, the likes of Atletico Madrid’s Falcao, Bayern Leverkusen’s Andre Schurrle, Napoli’s Edison Cavani, Roma’s Daniele de Rossi, Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira, and even, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, have been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, if Mourinho does complete his anticipated return, speculation linking Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso with Chelsea will surely increase.
Nowadays the Premier League seems to be won by the team who spends the most during the summer transfer period. With huge sums of money to spend at the Bridge, this trend may well continue next season.
Ability to succeed
Moreover, Chelsea are formidable despite chopping and changing their manager all the time. Perhaps if they had kept their managers for a little longer they might have won even more trophies.
For the past few seasons, in spite of not playing at the top of their game, Chelsea have returned with two huge European trophies.
In my opinion, we are yet to see this side reach its full potential – a potential that could result in an unbeatable set-up. Forming a squad capable of matching the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the elite end of European football.
There’s a deep set winning mentality at Stamford Bridge. A mentality that has been set in stone since Jose Mourinho’s first days at the club
For me, the Portuguese manager is the only man capable of getting this team playing at its full capacity. Chelsea has been lacking that something special since his departure all those year ago and his return will make the club a intimidating force once again.
Managerial changes at rival clubs
Finally, managerial changes at key clubs will be a huge factor during next season’s Premier League title race provide. Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and Roberto Mancini’s sacking have resulted in huge changes at both Manchester clubs.
David Moyes will take a while to adjust to the monumental task he faces at Old Trafford, whilst the set-up at Manchester City needs some work before the start of next season.
I expect both the Manchester clubs, in particular United, to be slightly weaker throughout the 2013/14 campaign. This will provide a perfect opportunity for Chelsea to stake their claim for the domestic league title.
The team will continue to evolve and, having secured Champions League football, they can go out in the summer and attract players who would otherwise be looking elsewhere.
There is a good strong nucleus of players there who are all pulling in the same direction and that is absolutely vital at the highest level if you are to overcome difficult periods in games.
Chelsea’s current set-up provides a perfect platform for any incoming manager to achieve success in their first campaign at the Bridge. I have no doubt, should Mourinho be the man in control of the team next season, of all the teams in the Premier League, Chelsea will be the team to beat.