5 Reasons Chelsea Still Lack the Firepower to Regain the EPL Crown

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2012

5 Reasons Chelsea Still Lack the Firepower to Regain the EPL Crown

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    Chelsea opened the Premier League season with a 2-0 victory over Wigan, but there were plenty of signs to suggest the European Champions may struggle to contend for the Premier League this year.

    Roman Abramovich has spent over £60 million on players across the summer, all in aid of trying to win the division once more.

    If the early showing is anything to go by, the Blues have a long way to progress before they'll seriously trouble Manchester City at the league's summit.

    With that in mind, here are five reasons why Chelsea still lack the firepower to regain the Premier League crown.

Pressure on Fernando Torres to Perform

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    An obvious point, but one worth making.

    At his best, Fernando Torres is one of the world's deadliest finishers. Unfortunately, his day hasn't come around too often across the past year.

    He may have won the Champions League and F.A. Cup with Chelsea last season, but his role was minimal. Much has been made about his ability to replace a club legend like Didier Drogba, and if Sunday's performance against Wigan is to go by, Torres has plenty to improve on.

    The problem is, if he succumbs to another bout of poor form, Roberto Di Matteo doesn't have anyone else to rest the pressure on. After scoring 11 goals in 28 Premier League appearances last year, Daniel Sturridge is an obvious choice to fill any potential void.

    Unfortunately, I doubt he possesses the tools to fire Chelsea toward the Premier League title at this stage in his career.

    Romelu Lukaku, whom Chelsea has loaned out to West Brom for the season, is already one goal ahead of Torres. It's naive to judge such a statistic after only one game, but it underlines the potential of a player who could do a job for Di Matteo's side, and lift some pressure off Torres' shoulders.

    The onus is very much on the Spaniard. If the European Champions are to be successful this season, he must remain fit, and in top form.

New Signings Will Need Time to Adjust

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    With the likes of Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar joining the club, Chelsea is stronger than ever on paper.

    In reality, it will take a little time for these signings to make a sustained impact.

    The case in point came in Chelsea's match against Wigan last Sunday. Eden Hazard was explosive for the opening 10 minutes. He showed a fine touch, agility, and enough pace to trouble any defender in the world. Before being fouled for Frank Lampard's penalty, the Belgian had already contributed one assist to his team's cause.

    For the rest of the game, he was anonymous.

    Hazard was on the receiving end of many tough tackles, often resulting in him getting clattered to the ground. Players like him are so talented that they often become targets, and this is something he'll quickly have to adapt to.

    Across an entire season, you can expect this kind of uncertainty to continue showing up. Chelsea have brought in immense quality this summer, but it'll be a miracle if the influence of players such as Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou is quickly forgotten.

The Team Is Being Built to Play One Formation Only

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    Sometimes in football you're forced to change things up.

    If you're searching for a goal or looking to intimidate the opposition's defence, two strikers is the preferable method of offence.

    With Hazard and Mata taking to the field in the team's first Premier League game of the season, a distinct lack of options showed itself.

    I'm not talking about personnel, or lack of strikers, but the way in which Chelsea move the ball forward. Almost all the attacking play came through the wings; a threat Wigan quickly snuffed out.

    In fact, Roberto Martinez's side racked up 52 percent of the possession and 13 shots to Chelsea's six, two statistics that shouldn't be taken lightly (via The Telegraph).

    With all respect to Wigan, they aren't going to dominate too many teams this season. They battled back against Chelsea, and once the wing supply was quelled, Di Matteo's men had a problem.

    If the wingers don't perform in this formation, it's difficult to see what else Chelsea have up their sleeve.

Pressure to Compete in All Competitions

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    Now that Roman Abramovich has had a taste of Champions League victory, the Russian billionaire won't want to regress back to the days of disappointment.

    He's a notoriously difficult man to please, and now his side has captured Europe's top prize, anything less than trophy retention is failure.

    No club has won the Champions League in back-to-back seasons during the modern era. Considering the way the Stamford Bridge side won it last season, it looks extremely unlikely the Blues will enjoy an open bus celebration across London next year.

    Such pressure takes its toll on any team, even one with strength in depth like Chelsea. Consider the fact they'll want to win the F.A. Cup once more, and Premier League victory looks rather daunting.

    If Chelsea are to challenge for England's top division, all focus and energy must be placed on the competition.

Rivals Continue to Improve

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    It's easy to focus on whom Chelsea has signed, but ultimately, the club's quest for the Premier League title equally lies with whom their rivals have brought in.

    Robin van Persie's transfer to Manchester United will have the Blues looking on enviously, even after landing United target Eden Hazard.

    The Dutchman offers Sir Alex Ferguson's men a step up in class that was often missing last year. The Red Devils lost the title on goal difference, and van Persie's signing is Fergie's way of saying it can't happen again.

    Consider United have also brought in Shinji Kagawa, and the attacking threat begins to look rather formidable.

    While Manchester City have only spent on Jack Rodwell this summer, the club already plays home to an immense amount of firepower.

    With Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko at the club, there's plenty of diverse options to overcome each situation. These players will score plenty of goals among them, and that's before you consider the threat of the midfielders behind them.

    Such comparison begs the question: Have Chelsea strengthened the correct areas of the pitch?

    To win the Premier League title, I'd argue one or two more players must make their way to the club. And no, they shouldn't be attacking wingers.