11 Reasons Chelsea Will Be Considerably Better This Season
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When a team wins the Champions League, it is generally difficult to talk about how the team can improve. However, in the case of Chelsea Football Club, the truth is last season was not a resounding success.
They did come away with trophies in the Champions League and FA Cup, but they also finished sixth in the Premier League standings. These sort of results would be more than enough for most clubs, but Chelsea has some room for improvement.
What makes Chelsea a great club is that they always want to get better and eliminate that room for improvement. They are always looking for better players and better coaches.
This offseason was no different, and Chelsea looks poised to be even better this season. Here is why.
1. Eden Hazard
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Eden Hazard. All by himself, Eden Hazard makes Chelsea a more dangerous team.
Last season at Lille, Hazard scored 20 goals and dished out 15 assists in Ligue 1. This comes as a result of his incredible dribbling, vision of the field, and knack for finding the back of the net. He is always dangerous and can create chances for his team at any moment.
Better yet for Chelsea, Hazard is still only 21 and should give Chelsea one of the best playmakers in Europe for many years to come.
Hazard is a huge plus for the team.
2. Didier Drogba Leaving
Didier Drogba Leaving His Place To Fernando Torres
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This is not a dig at Didier Drogba. He was consistently among the best strikers in the world throughout his tenure at Chelsea and was absolutely crucial to the Champions League victory. It is just that his departure is good for Fernando Torres.
The two men could not be more different in terms of what kind of forwards they are. Drogba is big and strong, while Torres is small and speedy. At this point in time, Chelsea needed to move on from Drogba and work around the younger Torres.
Since his arrival at Chelsea, Torres has had to try and fit into an offense built to help Drogba. Now that the starting forward position is presumably his, Torres can reap the benefits of having an offense built for him. Hazard and Mata will likely play just behind him and find space for him often.
With a Golden Boot at Euro 2012 in the bag, Torres will be entering the season with much more confidence and Chelsea should see goals from him early and often.
3. Target Acquired
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It has been no secret that since purchasing Chelsea, Roman Abramovich has made winning the Champions League his top priority.
Now that the objective has been achieved, the team can relax and focus on playing a complete, successful season. They no longer need to make the Champions League the only thing that matters and will contend for the Premier League title as well.
Certainly having the owner back off a bit will be a positive factor for the team.
4. Juan Mata Feeding off of Hazard
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In his first season with Chelsea, Juan Mata was simply outstanding. He did everything that the team could possibly expect from him and more.
In his second season, Mata will reach new heights due to his new partnership with Eden Hazard. Alongside Hazard, Mata will be able to find more space and feed off of Hazard's creativity.
Mata will also be able to share distribution duties and create space for Torres and for himself.
Hazard and Mata will provide Chelsea with one of the best duos in Europe.
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Oscar's preferred position is already occupied by Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, but that doesn't mean Oscar won't be useful. He is immensely talented and will still get plenty of playing time.
He is very quick with the ball, gets by defenders with ease, and seems to always find a way to score. He will be instrumental in finding space for Torres and bringing fresh legs to the team.
As an added bonus for Chelsea, Yahoo! Sports reported that he is attempting to convince Brazilian prodigy Neymar to join him at Stamford Bridge.
6. Pressure Is off of Lampard
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It feels like Frank Lampard has been the face and heart of Chelsea forever. However, at the age of 34, he is now reaching the latter end of his career.
Lampard is a smart man and understands that he isn't the player he once was, and he is willing to leave the spotlight to younger players.
With pressure from fans diminishing and his role being moved to a less offensive one, Lampard no longer needs to carry the burden of the team. He can simply distribute as he does so well, and provide the inspiration when the team needs it.
He will continue to be a leader, but one that shares the burden.
7. Petr Cech Is Another Year Away from His Injury
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Who knows if Petr Cech will ever be the same again. Following his horrific head injury in 2006, Cech has yet to entirely return to his former glory.
That is not to say Cech has lost all of his skill, as he is still among the best keepers in the world. However, at the time of his injury he was likely the very best goalkeeper in the world.
He has moments of brilliance, but the occasional mistake or hesitation can still be spotted. Being another year away from that injury can do nothing but help Cech move on.
8. Roberto Di Matteo Given Time
Roberto Di Matteo
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Last season, Roberto Di Matteo was given two months at the helm of Chelsea and came away with two trophies. Andre Villas-Boas still deserves some credit, as he did put together the squad Di Matteo inherited, but it's a fact that the work AVB produced was insufficient.
On the other had, Di Matteo's work was more than satisfactory. Now that Di Matteo has shed the interim tag, he can move forward with the team.
He has had the entire summer to work with the team and added the pieces he deemed necessary. He has been given time, and that can only mean improvement for Chelsea.
9. David Luiz and John Terry Given Time
David Luiz and John Terry
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As France learned the hard way at Euro 2012, it is absolutely vital that your two central defenders have great chemistry.
Not only has David Luiz only been starting consistently with Chelsea for seven months, but he also arrived in the middle of the season. That means that he and John Terry were forced to learn to play together on the fly.
Now that the two men have had plenty of training time together, they should know each other well enough to further improve what is already one of Europe's best defenses.
10. Great Teams Rise to the Occasion
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Great teams rise to the occasion. Being the defending Champions of Europe certainly adds some pressure to the equation for Chelsea as they will be the team to beat.
While some would fade under that sort of stress, the greats relish the chance to defend their title. With an elite squad, Chelsea is going to hit the ground running in hopes of proving that their Champions League conquest was no fluke.
It's hard to imagine Chelsea doing anything but rising to the occasion.
11. Champions League Win Makes Chelsea a Desirable Location
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With the amount of money Roman Abramovich is willing to spend on free agents, Chelsea has been a desirable location for years. However, with the repeated failures in the Champions League, the Blues were coming dangerously close to gaining the reputation of being underachievers.
With the win in the Champions League though, Stamford Bridge has once again become one of the most coveted destinations for young talents.
To the delight of fans, Chelsea has already been taking advantage of this by signing young stars such as Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Thorgan Hazard (Eden's little brother). This should result in plenty to cheer for Chelsea fans in the immediate future, as well as down the line.