Chelsea F.C.: View of Chelsea's Youngsters
Chelsea may be holders of the Champions League and FA Cup trophies, but there is still lots of room for improvement in the 2012/2013 campaign. The Blues had a great finish to last season, with Roberto Di Matteo guiding his side to unlikely wins in two finals.
Nonetheless, Chelsea finished sixth in the EPL and wouldn't have even qualified for the next Champions League if it weren't for the victory in Munich. Under Andre Villas-Boas, the Londoners had major problems and, even after Di Matteo's promotion to the managerial position, Chelsea weren't always at their best.
While Chelsea should use their money to bring in new players, they should also promote some of their youngsters.
Here's a list of five young Chelsea players who should be given more playing time this season.
Note: I chose players who are under 22 years old and who haven't yet established themselves under Roberto Di Matteo.
Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne moved from Racing Genk to Chelsea for £7 million in January this year. The two teams had played each other in the Champions League earlier in the season, so Andre Villas-Boas was able to see huge potential in the Belgian midfielder.
De Bruyne is only 21 years old right now and can play as a center-midfielder or a winger. He was loaned back to Genk after making his Chelsea transfer but will now be in the Londoners' team.
It was Villas-Boas who bought De Bruyne over, so it'll be interesting to see if Roberto Di Matteo gives the Belgian a chance this year.
After making one senior appearance at Barcelona, Oriol Romeu moved to Stamford Bridge in August 2011. Under Andre Villas-Boas, Romeu was given more playing time than most of the Chelsea youngsters and was solid in the Blues' midfield.
The return of Michael Essien, the improved form of John Obi Mikel and Raul Meireles and Romeu's own injury all left the Spaniard without much playing time in the second half of the season.
The 20-year-old will hope to make an impression on Di Matteo and win his spot on the first team.
After a successful few years at RSC Anderlecht, Romelu Lukaku moved to London in an expensive £13-18 million deal (price depends on performances in future). It's been almost a year since the transfer and Chelsea fans haven't seen much of the 19-year-old.
With such a great record at Anderlecht, so much was expected from the Belgian striker. However, with Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Daniel Sturridge and others all ahead of Lukaku, it was always going to be a challenge to get playing time.
Lukaku has yet to score for Chelsea and will be hoping to start putting the ball in the net as soon as possible.
Like Kevin De Bruyne, Lucas Piazon has yet to play for Chelsea's senior team. The Brazilian attacker signed for the Blues in March 2011 and played well with the reserve team. Piazon has been compared to Real Madrid's Kaka for his attacking ability as well as his versatility.
Piazon won Chelsea Young Player of the Season for his 2011/2012 campaign. It will be interesting to see if he can now establish himself into the first team. Blues fans will hope that the 18-year-old makes the same impact on the team as fellow Brazilians Ramires and David Luiz.
Most Chelsea fans are already familiar with Josh McEachran. The 19-year-old has been impressive since making his competitive debut in 2010. He has featured in 22 Chelsea games in all competitions so far, though most of his appearances have been from the bench.
McEachran is one of the few young players on the Chelsea team who came out of the Blues' Youth Academy. He was given the Chelsea Young Player of the Year Award in 2011 and has been praised for vision and passing ability.
The English midfielder was sent on loan to Swansea City in January, so he hasn't yet played under Di Matteo. It would be a smart decision for Chelsea to keep McEachran on the first team and give him more playing time.
Other Chelsea Youngsters
Under 22 years old:
Gael Kakuta (21) - French, winger
Jeffrey Bruma (20) - Dutch, center-back
Thibaut Courtois (20) - Belgian, goalkeeper
Ulises Davila (21) - Mexican, center-midfield
Patrick Van Aanholt (21) - Dutch, left-Back
Other young players:
Ryan Bertrand (22) - English, left-back
Sam Hutchinson (22) - English, center-back