The summer transfer window has now slammed shut and thus, Premier League clubs are stuck with their current squads until January at the earliest.
Some sides in the English top flight enjoyed fantastic summers, snapping up all their top targets with time to spare, but others failed to get in the right additions for the right positions before Wednesday’s 11pm deadline.
English football is currently more intense than it’s ever been, with practically every club in the top seven battling it out on four fronts – the Premier League, the two cup competitions and Europe.
But Chelsea won’t be involved in Europe this season, which should give them a distinct advantage in the Premier League title race.
With that in mind, and following the Deadline Day additions of David Luiz and Marcos Alonso, the squad the Blues have ended up with looks in pretty good shape.
In fact, we at Football FanCast reckon the Blues’ strength in depth could well be the difference in this season’s title race. Let’s take a look…
Chelsea boast one of the most formidable goalkeeping departments in world football, further boosted by the summer arrival of former Dynamo Zagreb No.1 Eduardo. Should something happen to first-choice Thibaut Courtois, the Portugal international and Asmir Begovic are both more than capable of filling the void.
Branislav Ivanovic’s days as Chelsea’s resident No.2 may be numbered but the Blues already possess a worthy successor in Cesar Azpilicueta. He’s filled the other defensive flank for the west Londoners in recent seasons but the late arrival of Marcos Alonso (which we’ll come onto shortly) could see the right-footed defender move back to his natural side.
Chelsea splashed out £23million on Marcos Alonso during the dying embers of the summer window, suggesting Antonio Conte plans to call upon the left-back relatively frequently this season. But Azpilicueta could remain there for the time being, giving the Blues’ summer signing a few weeks to settle in.
The late re-arrival of David Luiz has given Conte a wealth of options at the heart of defence – suggesting he could experiment with a Juventus-inspired back three in the coming weeks. John Terry remains indisputable first choice but who partners him remains to be seen; Gary Cahill and Luiz are both capable partners, whilst the prodigious Kurt Zouma is due to return from injury and Ivanovic can cover at centre-back as well.
Chelsea’s engine room lacked balance last season but N’Golo Kante offers the dynamism Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas failed to provide. The Frenchman has already made the central midfield position his own but Conte has plenty of alternatives to fall back on, including John Obi Mikel, Ruben-Loftus Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah.
Chelsea aren’t overflowing with options in attacking midfield but pretty much all five are capable of filling the three slots behind the striker. Victor Moses has earned Conte’s favour after a strong showing in pre-season, whilst Willian is one of the London club’s most consistent performers and Pedro offers Barcelona pedigree. Of course, however, the Blues are a much better side when Eden Hazard is in top gear.
Chelsea’s strike force has already enjoyed a strong start to the season, with Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi netting five times across all competitions. But after Loic Remy’s late departure to Crystal Palace, youngster Dominic Solanke will have to pull his weight too. The 18-year-old bagged seven Eredivisie strikes on loan at Vitesse last season.