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How Can Chelsea Improve Next Season to Contend?

By Chelsea NewsNo Comments

Thomas Tuchel appeared to be Chelsea’s new special one, of which they have had many since 2004. However, he came with the German tactic revolution that is sweeping over European football, a stellar combination of movement, pressing and intensity.
Chelsea began to tail off after Christmas despite playing some attractive football. However, the end of the season has been disappointing as they have been dragged into a top-four race with Arsenal and Spurs. With Manchester City and Liverpool still a level above, how can Chelsea improve next season?

Integrate Romelu Lukaku

On the back of winning the Champions League last season, Chelsea signed Serie A-winning striker Romelu Lukaku who appeared to be the missing piece of the puzzle. What promised to be a three-horse race quickly deteriorated as the season went on. Liverpool and Manchester City are vying for the title in the final few games, with Premiership winner odds currently favouring The Citizens at 1/20.

Lukaku came to Chelsea as a returning prodigal son of Pogba proportions, but it seems to have gone a similar route, with relationships with the manager and fans collapsing fast. The Belgian was the Serie A top scorer last year and appeared to have brought the goalscorer edge that the Blues needed, scoring three in his opening four games. However, after the infamous interview that was released in December, where he expressed an interest in rejoining Inter Milan, his form has been horrendous, scoring five goals since his early burst.

What has gone wrong is that Tuchel’s trust in the striker appears to have dwindled. Lukaku’s lack of movement, holdup and interchangeable play that the other attacking options offer became a problem to the cohesiveness of the forwards. Tuchel needs to find a way to integrate the Belgian striker and get the most out of their significant investment if Chelsea hope to improve next season.

Replace Antonio Rudiger

Rudiger has been monumental to Chelsea at the back since signing, particularly in the last two seasons. However, he has signed a pre-contract with Real Madrid and will be leaving next year. In the three-man backline, he leaves a massive hole, where his defensive presence and ball-playing ability were crucial to how Tuchel’s side played.

Speculation also surrounds Cesar Azpilicueta’s future, but Tuchel would be wise to hold onto the Spaniard, having also lost Andreas Christensen, even if it’s just for his experience in the locker room. With such a mass exodus threatening one of the best defences in the Premier League, Tuchel needs to promote from within or have astute signings to ensure his side stays rock solid.

Trust the Process

What Tuchel has proven over the years from all of his managerial stints is that he is capable of building cohesive and devastating teams. His personality can sometimes come across as overbearing, but he is the best manager the Blues have had since Antonio Conte. If Chelsea wants to build something remarkable, they have to give a manager more than two or three years. Yes, they have won many trophies in the last 15 years, but if they want to contend consistently rather than in four-year cycles, they need to lay foundations that can last, which can be seen at Liverpool and City.

Has Antonio Rudiger Signed A New Chelsea Contract? *Feb 2022*

By TransfersNo Comments

Despite rumours and being the rock of the Thomas Tuchel defence – currently Antonio Rudiger has not signed a new Chelsea contract for the 2022/23 season and beyond.

It is reported that Rudiger whose Chelsea contract expires in the summer of 2022 has rejected at least one offer from the Chelsea board.

The reasons for this are not fully known however, his lack of game time under Frank Lampard and a desire to get a maximum payout from his last big contract are the most likely sources of friction. Particularly as his impressive form for Thomas Tuchel has seen the German linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Timeline Of The Rudiger Contract Saga

9th July 2017Rudiger signs for Chelsea from AS Roma for £29m

4th July 2019Frank Lampard becomes Chelsea manager

After a positive start, Antonio Rudiger gradually slips from the starting lineup under Frank Lampard and him leaving Chelsea seems inevitable

25th January 2021Frank Lampard sacked as Chelsea manager

26th January 2022Thomas Tuchel appointed Chelsea manager and Rudiger returns to the team

29th May 2022 – Rudiger starts the Champions League Final

5th October 2022Rudiger reported to reject Chelsea contract offer

22nd January 2022 – In an interview Rudiger hints that his family love life in London

3rd February 2022 – Antonio Rudiger posts a cryptic Instagram message

Has Antonio Rudiger Signed A New Chelsea Contract = NO (But He Might)

On the 3rd of February Rudiger posted the below on Instagram, with a cryptic post entitled #hustle hinting that he might already or be about to sign a new deal.

The inclusion of Chelsea prominently in the video suggests he might be about to sign. Which would be awesome for the club, given how amazing he has been under Thomas Tuchel.

I guess we will have to wait and see.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Antonio Rüdiger (@toniruediger)

Competition For Places Driving Up Euro Hope

By Chelsea NewsNo Comments

As the battle to narrow the gap at the top of the Premier League table continues, Chelsea are starting to see the rise in form of individual players.

With the Blues also in the mix to retain their Champions League title this season, the competition for places can only be a good thing for manager Thomas Tuchel.

Ziyech Showing True Colours

After what has been a somewhat stop-start first chapter of his Chelsea career, Hakim Ziyech appears to be finding the form that made him such an exciting prospect when he signed from Ajax in 2020. Injuries and dips in form have meant consistency has been an issue since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, but the Moroccan international is starting to get back to his best.

Chelsea, who are currently priced at odds of 43/5 in the Champions League odds from Betfair to retain their European crown, will be hoping Ziyech can continue his form going into their next games in the competition against Lille. Many  Champions League tips will expect the Blues to challenge, come the business end of the tournament, and Ziyech looks like he could play a role in helping Chelsea reach the final in St Petersburg on May 28th.


The 28-year-old has put his injury woes behind him and now expectations have returned: whenever Ziyech gets the ball, there’s the very real anticipation that he’s going to do something magic with it.

There was certainly interest in him during the January transfer window, with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and London rivals Tottenham Hotspur being linked with the attacking midfielder. The interest from Bayern clearly shows that they have also seen the improvement in Ziyech, and the fact Chelsea kept him can only be a positive for Tuchel going forward.

Sarr on The Rise

Another player who looks to be taking his opportunities in the first-team since making his Premier League debut against Brentford is rising star Malang Sarr. The 23-year-old joined from Nice back in 2020 and, after a loan spell in Portugal at Porto, is now challenging for first-team action in West London.

Sarr has been used as cover for injuries, but when he has been called upon the France under-21 international has stood up well to the challenges that have been put in his path. The defender impressed as a left-back in the semi-final second-leg against Spurs, before going on to start the top of the table clash against Man City. While Chelsea lost the encounter 1-0 against the Citizens, Sarr once again held his own in a high-pressure environment.


Again there was interest in Sarr over the January window, with the likes of West Ham, Newcastle, Everton and Leicester City all linked with the defender’s services. Tuchel was not willing to lose Sarr and now it looks like the player has a bright future ahead of him and will put pressure on those stars ahead of him in the pecking order at Chelsea.

Competition for places drives up standards and the rise of the likes of Ziyech and Sarr will come as a welcomed sight as Chelsea continue in the defence of their European crown.

Collage of List of Chelsea Player Of The Year Goalkeepers

List of Chelsea Player Of The Year Goalkeepers

By Chelsea NewsNo Comments

The list of Chelsea Player of the Year Goalkeepers contains just five names making up the list. The first winner was Peter Bonetti in 1967 (the first year of the award) and the last was Petr Cech in 2011.

List Of Goalkeepers Named Chelsea Player Of The Year

Player Name

Year Of Award

Peter Bonetti 1967
Petar Borata 1981
Eddie Niedzwiecki 1986
Carlo Cudicini 2002
Petr Cech 2011

Why Do Goalkeepers Rarely Win Chelsea Player Of The Year

Despite a keeper winning the award on average only one time in ten, the first Chelsea Player of the Year (CPOY) was actually a goalkeeper. The award that year won by Chelsea legend Peter Bonetti.

It would be more than a decade until the next goalkeeper won the award and the results have been patchy ever since. This is most likely due to fans remembering goals and assists over match winning saves. It really does take something for the goalkeeper to make the headlines or win man of the match, let alone the season.

It is possible that this is the reason why the 1980’s were such a good decade for goalkeepers in the CPOY stakes. The club has a turbulent decade of relegations and promotions almost dropping into the third tier at one point!

It is tough times that give goalkeepers the opportunity to become cult heroes.

The 80’s saw two goalkeepers win the prize with Petar Borata (1981) and Eddie Niedzwiecki (1986) both scooping the award.

There was however a huge gap between Niedzwiecki and the next goalkeeper to win the award. More than 16 years passing before Carlo Cudicini was recognised for his excellent form and position as a fan favourite.

Will Edouard Mendy Be Next

Our current goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has been a revelation since joining the club in 2020.

He was awesome on the run to the Champions League trophy, and has somehow stepped it up even further in 2021/22. It seems that if he keeps this up he is destined to become just the sixth goalkeeper to win the award. His departure to the African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) may make it harder to achieve this year, but I would not bet against him doing it in the future.

The first Chelsea player of the year Peter Bonetti in action

Peter Bonetti – The First Chelsea Player Of The Year

By LegendsNo Comments

The first Chelsea player of the year was Peter Bonetti.

The legendary goalkeeper won the inaugural award in 1967 and is one of just five goalkeepers to have won in the award. A true Chelsea legend he played for the club between 1960 and 1979 and is the club’s second-highest appearance maker of all time.

Who Was The First Chelsea Player Of The Year

Peter Bonetti was a Chelsea academy graduate who made his debut in 1960 and spent 19 years at Stamford Bridge.

Bonetti is one of the most iconic players to play for Chelsea. Nicknamed the “Cat” he made a mammoth 729 appearances during two spells with the Blues. During that time he was one of the most talented goalkeepers in the country.

Unfortunately, he shared a generation with Gordon Banks meaning that he only received 7 caps for his country. He played in the 1970 World Cup and was part of the 1966 squad but did not play a game during England’s successful campaign. He did eventually get a medal though, awarded in 2009 after a long-running campaign for the entire Cup-winning squad to be recognised.

The “Cat” also spent time playing in the USA, after being released by Chelsea on a free transfer he joined the St Louis Stars in 1975 before returning to Chelsea the same year to help rebuild the club under new manager Eddie McCreadie.

The Cat’s Chelsea Rollercoaster

During his time at the club Bonetti experienced the rollercoaster that is Chelsea Football Club.

He saw the club rise and fall on more than one occasion, played with some of our greatest ever players and watched the club sink towards mediocrity.

During his time he got promoted, relegated, won trophies, and lost finals experiencing almost every emotion.

Trophies Won  – League Cup (1965)  FA Cup (1970) , European Cup Winners Cup (1971)

Finals Lost – FA Cup (1967)

Relegations – 1962. 1975, 1979

Promotions from Second Division – 1963, 1977

Return of Safe Standing At Stamford Bridge

Will Return Of Standing At Stamford Bridge Boost The Atmosphere?

By Chelsea CultureNo Comments

Standing at Stamford Bridge returned after nearly 28 years against Liverpool with rail seating in the Shed End and the Matthew Harding Lower.

Hopefully, this will help boost the matchday atmosphere and bring back some of the positive spirit of the terraces whilst leaving behind the bad.

A return to safe standing at Stamford Bridge has involved years of campaigning from fan groups and many false dawns but now standing is allowed in the entire Shed End and the Matthew Harding Lower.

Fans will still have an allocated seat, but they will now have a choice as to whether they use it.

Why Was Standing Banned?

The Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 was responsible for the tragic death of 97 football fans.

It led to the launch of a full investigation, the outcome of which was the Taylor Report.

The report recommended that stadiums should be converted to an all-seater model and that all ticketed spectators should have allocated seats.

Whilst the report did not say that standing was unsafe the government legislated that no standing would be allowed.

A deadline of August 1994 set for clubs in the Premier League and Championship to comply.

On the 7th of May 1994 Chelsea faced Sheffield United in the last game before the new regulations became law and the Shed End terracing was closed to be rebuilt, with modern seating, concourses, and overzealous stewards.

Impact On The Stamford Bridge Atmosphere

Whilst some of these changes were for the better, the removal of standing had a negative impact on atmospheres across the Premier League.

The cause for this was the introduction of allocated seating making it harder for fans to congregate and the way that standing makes fans feel more involved in the action and is far more conducive to singing and generating atmosphere.

Whilst an allocated seat is important for safety and crowd control, the desire for fans to stand whilst watching football has never disappeared.

If you have been to watch Chelsea at an away game out of the watch of home stewards’ fans watch the entire game standing. After a few years of trying to enforce seating on away fans most clubs simply gave up.

At home fans in the lower tiers of the Shed End and Matthew Harding Lower have spent the last twenty years doing battle with stewards trying to enforce rules against standing.

Maybe the tolerance of standing will see a better relationship with fans and stewards who can focus on things that will actually keep fans safe.

The Long Road To Safe Standing

A return to partial standing has made sense from day one, but it has taken a long time to get there.

The campaign to get seating back has been a long one that has brought fans across the country together. Fan groups including the Football Supporters Association have coordinated, lobbied and campaigned for nearly 32 years before we reached this point.

The challenge being for fans to convince their clubs, the Premier League and the government that there was a safe version of standing. This was a painstaking journey and we tip our hats to all those that fought the good fight.

Whilst allocated seating is a must in modern stadia, the introduction of rail seating is a huge coup for fans and should help revive atmospheres.

Will Safe Standing At Stamford Bridge Bring The Atmosphere Back

The introduction to safe standing is a great victory for supporters and should in theory lead to more fan involvement and a better atmosphere. For those not wanting to stand they will still be able to sit in the West, East or Matthew Harding Upper stands. (see our list of best place to sit at Stamford Bridge)

The proof will be in the results, but we look forward to finding out.

Editors Note - Fans standing in all-seater stadiums without rail seating was arguably quite unsafe with the risk of falling over the seat in front often quite high, particularly when getting to your seat or celebrating a goal.
View from the halfway line in the Westview Stamford Bridge

Are Westview Stamford Bridge Tickets Worth The Money?

By Chelsea TicketsNo Comments

Chelsea tripled the prices of tickets in some season ticket prices in the Westview Stamford Bridge, the question is it are they worth it?

The club spent the summer upgrading the facilities in the stand, holding prices where they are this season. It was clear though those prices were going to rise but fans are struggling to understand what a 360-degree bar and some catering upgrades do to justify the increase.

Overview Of The Westview Stamford Bridge

The Westview Stamford Bridge is the rebranding for the top tier of the West Stand.

It has always been one of the more expensive seats in the stadium and is normally where the sponsor and corporate tickets are sat.

So what do you get for your money?

Seats

The seats in the Westview Stamford Bridge are a far cry from the dilapidated terraces of yesteryear.

Your ticket gets you’re a padded seat, with space heaters throughout the stand to keep the cold of winter away. It is comfortable and designed for those that prefer to watch their football seated, eating fancy food and keeping noise levels to a minimum.

View

The view from the top tier of the West Stand is stunning.

If you have one of the pricier tickets on the halfway line you have the perfect view of the action, towering over the players with a true perspective of what is going on at all times.

If you forget the score, you also have at least two screens within your eyeline.

Meaning if your posh pie makes you sleepy, when your snooze is interrupted, you won’t have to ask the seat next to you what the score is.

View from the halfway line in the Westview Stamford BridgeAtmosphere

The West Stand is not known for its ferocious atmosphere and the Westview changes will only reinforce this. There are this season pockets of those that want to get involved, but realistically it is a much quieter and calm place to watch football.

Which for most fans will be quite a disappointment.

Concourse

The first thing you notice when you go through the turnstiles is the steps up to the concourse.

There are a lot of them!

You climb from ground level to the top of the Stadium winding up the stairs that seem to go on forever. This is an ordeal in itself!

If you are hungry the food options are more varied. Offering things such as pizza and rotisserie chicken that you do not typically expect at a football concession stand, as well as your standard burgers, pies and pasties.

These foods do not typically lend themselves to quick service.

You will be surprised by just how compact the concourse is. There is not much space and the queues for the food back up from the entrance to the seating block all the way to the back wall.

Meaning you have to dodge and weave to get from one side of the stand to the other picking through a sea of bodies.

These queues are only matched by those at the bar.

The much-vaunted 360-degree bars do provide quick service, but the packed concourse means it is still hard to get a beer and even when you do there is not much space to drink it.

After the game, the bars do remain open. It is only then that you can actually enjoy the panoramic views that the new configuration offers as you have a relaxed pint after the game. This is a unique touch compared to non-corporate seats where at the final whistle you are quickly ushered into the street.

Service lasts for around 20-30 minutes after the final whistle, so you will have to find another bar to properly celebrate or commiserate.

Ticket Prices

This is the painful bit for Chelsea fans.

The club clearly sees the Westview as a middle ground between standard prices and the nosebleed corporate packages that come with food, drinks and pre-match entertainment.

This is reflected in the ticket pricing.

Whilst ticket prices for 2022/2023 have not been announced, based on season ticket prices ranging from 1,500 to £3,900 (near the halfway line) the prices are going to be out of the reach of the average person.

Whilst a Westview season ticket covers domestic cup and Champions League group games the cost is still going to be over £100 per game.

This means tickets in the Westview for individual games are likely to be in the £150 range. I think this video sums it up

 

 

Westview Stamford Bridge – Is It Worth It?

Having sat in the Westview a couple of times during the Champions League it is at 2021 prices an interesting novelty.

The incredible view and improved facilities are wiped out by the poor atmosphere and terrible value for money.

The refit and new facilities do not justify the price point. It is a middle ground between standard seats and corporate that does not really satisfy either market.

It feels more like a drive for revenue from the club. A lick of paint here and a fancy bar and catering to make a play to triple prices is not a great reflection on the club

Good food (that takes forever), a fancy bar with a good view of the street are not what watching Chelsea is about for me. This is not the way we enjoy watching football.

Who Is The Westview For?

The reality is that these seats are not for fans.

They are for corporates, sponsors, and tourists looking to take in a game whilst in town to tick an experience off the list.

As a fan this is disappointing, the club seems to have learned nothing from the European Super League fiasco. One can only hope that increasing revenue here, means the club keep prices stable in other more appealing areas of the ground.

We are not hopeful.

Should I Buy A Westview Ticket?

You pay your money, you take your choice.

We can certainly see the demand for tickets keeping these seats filled every game.

For those who do not have enough membership points can only make the odd game here or there any seat will do.

We cannot tell you whether to buy a ticket here or not, let us know your thoughts.

Final Word

If you want atmosphere sit in the Shed End or Matthew Harding Stand.

If you want a corporate experience – get a corporate package that may seat you in the Westview but includes all the trappings and comfort of the money you spend.

We do not think the price is worth what you get and will be buying tickets there in the future.

Can Chelsea Challenge for Two Major Trophies This Season?

By Chelsea NewsNo Comments

On the back of winning the Champions League last season and performing very well in the transfer market over the summer, optimism is back at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are once again expected to be towards the fore when it comes to every competition they are in.

Of those, the biggest two are the Premier League and the Champions League, and this is where the focus will be. Can Chelsea challenge for both? Not only do they have to continue to prove they have the talent for this, but they also need to show the strength in depth they have. So, it seems they’ve certainly got their work cut out for them.

However, all is not lost. Amongst bookmakers, there is optimism that this can be done as they offer odds on both competitions. Betting sites like Space Casino have Chelsea as 43/20, or second favourites, for the Premier League and 6/1, or fifth favourites, to win the Champions League. This shows that The Blues can certainly get involved. Though the odds are separate, the big question is whether they commit to both competitions, or will one need to be sacrificed?

Back-to-Back Champions League Titles?

Fans will all remember the Champions League final win over Manchester City last season as being a real highlight and would love to see the club retain that title. Of course, this won’t be easy, but what we saw in that competition last season was Chelsea’s ability to plan for an individual game and pull it off to perfection.

The final against Manchester City was a prime example of Chelsea playing their own game, with tweaks to prevent City from playing theirs. It was seen as a tactical masterclass by head coach Thomas Tuchel. While he is at the club and able to keep it up, in a one-off game such as a big European final or knockout game Chelsea have to be fancied to win.

Can This be Translated into League Performances?

This is the real unknown for Chelsea and something that we will see develop as the season goes on. Tuchel is a great boss for individual games, but can he string together something that will last for an entire season, to lead his team to Premier League glory?

Small lapses, such as the recent home draw with Burnley may not feel too bad at the moment, but when we get to the end of the season, those two points dropped may prove to be valuable. Every team makes these small errors over the 38 games that are played, and the team with the least errors is often the champion.

The Champions League in many ways looks like the ideal competition for Tuchel to manage in. This season, given the quality of players he has, we will find out if he can do it in the Premier League too.

All We Want for Christmas Is Blue

By Chelsea NewsNo Comments

Right now, we’re all dreaming of a Blue Christmas. As football goes into the international break, Chelsea is sitting clear at the top of the Premier League – and on the previous five occasions we’ve been in that position on December 25th, we’ve gone on to win the title.

As the early pacesetters of the season, can the team keep that edge right through to May 2022? Well, the players have certainly maintained the momentum of the club’s second UCL win as well as taking home the UEFA Super Cup this year under the new stewardship of Thomas Tuchel. Will we continue to dominate the Premier League as well as score a third UCL title?

Currently sitting second in the PL are our UCL rivals Manchester City followed by the impressive rise of West Ham to third place – a team heavily favoured in the UEFA Europa League odds to win that title way ahead of their UK rivals.

If West Ham maintain their strong PL position, the UEFA Champions League tips place them for promotion to Europe’s upper tier next season. Of course, this season Chelsea are firmly amongst the favourites to be victorious at the Gazprom Arena.

Can we become the second team to win back-to-back UCL titles after Real Madrid in 2017? We’re up against stiff competition from the likes of Bayern Munich, PSG, Manchester City and Liverpool. Yet it’s not just Blues fans who can appreciate that Tuchel now has a strong squad with a real depth of expertise at his disposal.

Some Rest for the Winners

Source: Pixabay

In under a year at the helm, Tuchel has been named Manager of the Month twice, in March and October 2021. Up until the international break, he has made 38 changes to the Premier League starting XI – more than any other team by a long way, with Liverpool next at 29.

This has helped the players to stay fresh, and those not away on international duty or in training to recover from injury will have a week off before the ‘tough’ winter schedule to rest and return reinvigorated. Going into the New Year the Blues will play ten games in the PL with the FA Cup and Club World Cup tournaments looming plus that defence of the Champions League title.

So, it’s undoubtedly a smart move on Tuchel’s part to give the squad time off if they’re to have the energy required to maintain that leading edge at home and on the European stage.
It was 2013 when we made history by becoming the first team to win both the Champions League and the Europa League back-to-back.

Then in 2019, we were part of footballing history again when both of the continent’s major competitions featured all-English finals – the Blues delivering a blistering 4-1 defeat to Arsenal in Baku in the Europa League and Liverpool victorious over Tottenham in the UCL 2-0.

Here’s hoping that we’ll end both our Premier League and our UCL campaigns this season as we’ve started – with the confidence, skill and motivation to continue our winning streak at home and the tactics, tenacity and determination to put Europe’s finest squads firmly in our shade.

Champions League 2021/22: Chelsea’s Big Dream

By Chelsea NewsNo Comments

With the 2021/22 edition of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) already underway, defending champions, Chelsea FC, enter the new season with more responsibility on their shoulders, but with the opportunity to make history.

Anticipation couldn’t be higher, as Tomas Tuchel will face his first full season at Stamford Bridge with a reinforced squad. The team that surprised Europe last year, will take their chances at the biggest club competition in the world, now knowing that staying on top is even more difficult than getting there.

A Third Title

When Thomas Tuchel arrived at Chelsea in January, it was hard to imagine the impact he would have on the team, but it was even harder to guess that in 10 months he would win the UCL and the UEFA Super Cup.

He did not only top all expectations, but he built a solid squad, by far one of the best in Europe, that has entered this new season as favourites to win the Premier League but also become the second team, after Real Madrid in 2017, to win-back-to-back UCL titles. Currently, Champions League outright football betting price Chelsea as one of the favourites to win the competition at odds of 8/1.

As defending champions, the Blues cannot have any other goal than to win the title. With no relevant departures, the team is practically the same as last year’s, plus the Belgium superstar Romelu Lukaku, who promises to make up for the team’s lack of goals in past.

Nonetheless, let us not forget that Chelsea’s biggest asset under Tuchel is the defence. At the end of last season, the team had only conceded 10 in 24 matches goals since the arrival of the German manager, who transformed the team after Frank Lampard’s departure. Playing with three defenders, the team is incredibly solid, with Antonio Rüdiger and Thiago Silva forming an almost unbeatable defence, which may also include Cezar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah, Andreas Christensen or even Malang Sarr.

Key Players

Romelu Lukaku

A decade after leaving, Lukaku returned home after the best season of his career last year, in which he helped Inter win Serie A for the first time in 11 years. At 28 years old, the Belgian became the most expensive player in accumulated transfer fees. Big, strong, but also fast and smart, Lukaku is a top scorer. Last season, he scored 30 goals and assisted 10 times, all in just 44 games.

N’Golo Kanté

Midfielder N’Golo Kanté has consistently proven how important he is for his teams. A crucial element in Leicester’s 2015/16 title, the Frenchman was a decisive player in winning the Champions League last season. Discreet and incredibly efficient, Kanté has expanded his skills and he is now more than a defensive midfielder: he has also become a powerful weapon in the counterattack, due to his speed and ability to win over balls in advanced sectors of the field.

Thiago Silva

The 36-year-old Brazilian was initially met with distrust upon his arrival in London but has since then proved his quality. The defender, who won his first Champions League title last year, has 88 games in the main European competition for three different teams: Milan, PSG and Chelsea. He offers not only the quality but also the experience needed in a winning team.

Ultimately, Chelsea has everything needed for a successful run in the UCL this year, but the likes of PSG, Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also strong contenders to win the title.