8 Reasons for Chelsea to Be Positive Heading into the 2014/15 Season
The World Cup is almost over, but the football doesn't end there.
The Premier League will be back in just over five weeks, and fans will be looking ahead to more drama, goals and controversy.
Chelsea supporters will be hoping the club can go one better and lift some silverware after going close in the Champions League and the Premier League last term. They will also welcome some new faces to Stamford Bridge.
It's the time of year when the pain of last season's defeat is forgotten and supporters feel positive about their teams' chances for the coming year.
Here are eight reasons Chelsea fans should feel no different heading into 2014/15.
After watching him fire home a penalty to help knock Chelsea out of the Champions League semi-final last season, Blues fans can now call Diego Costa one of their own.
His capture from Atletico Madrid is a major coup for Jose Mourinho, who often lamented the lack of firepower in his squad last term.
Costa bagged 36 goals in all competitions for Atletico last season, outlining his ability in front of goal.
He endured a difficult World Cup with Spain, but, struggling for fitness, he was always going to suffer in Brazil.
Given Costa's goalscoring record, Chelsea fans will be confident he can fire them to success next term.
The former Arsenal man is a gifted player and will be vital in transforming the Blues midfield, adding balance and creativity to get the ball forward to the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Diego Costa.
Nemanja Matic needed a partner capable of playing off him in the pivot last term, and Fabregas is very much that man.
The Blues Are a Year Older
It was a theme for much of last season for Jose Mourinho to regularly discuss his team's youth and the fact that Chelsea were undergoing a period of transition.
There may be a few hiccups on the horizon for 2014/15, but Chelsea will be better equipped to deal with them now.
The Blues are a year older, the players are more experienced, and they will be ready to take things to the next level in their development—winning titles.
He has been limited to cameo displays for Germany at the World Cup, but whenever he has appeared, Andre Schurrle has looked sharp.
Indeed, he has three goals to his name at Brazil 2014—more than the entire England team managed.
Two of those came against Brazil in the semi-final, but he was also on hand to open the scoring against Algeria in extra time of the last 16.
The 23-year-old has been a major positive for his country this summer, and there's no reason that shouldn't carry over into his form at Chelsea for next season.
Marco van Ginkel's Return from Injury
One of the major disappointments for Chelsea last season was the knee injury suffered by Marco van Ginkel.
It left the 21-year-old out for most of the 2013-14 campaign.
How much of a role he would have played can only be speculated, but given Chelsea's congested fixture list at times and their need for a central midfielder, he may well have proved a vital member of the first team.
This week has seen him return fully fit for pre-season training. He told the club's official website, "In the summer I did some extra work as well, especially on my right leg for the knee and now it is much better."
With the injury behind him, Chelsea fans can look forward to seeing the best of van Ginkel.
No Silverware Last Season
Chelsea lifted no silverware last season.
Depending upon which side of the fence you sit, it was either a major failure on Jose Mourinho's part or simply a sign of the development the team continues to undergo.
Either way, Mourinho isn't a manager to accept failure, and the fact that he went without a trophy upon his Chelsea return will motivate him all the more.
He will be determined to bring success back to west London, and that can only mean bad news for the rest of the Premier League.
Facing Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool Away from Home First
Not only does it mean they have the chance to dent their rivals' hopes early in the campaign, but it also means that, come the latter stages, they have a good opportunity to make things count when facing them at home.
It was the opposite for Chelsea last season, when they traveled to Liverpool and City in the second half of the campaign.
They won both games, but they will have an extra psychological edge this time knowing their rivals will have to travel to west London in the New Year.
A More Balanced Squad
A year into his second spell as Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho is shaping the squad more in his vision.
He has used the previous two transfer windows wisely, selling Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne in January and following up their departures with David Luiz this summer.
It hasn't just been about selling, though. Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic are three of the Blues' more high-profile signings.
Chelsea now have a better balance to their squad, and with more names expected to come and go before the end of the summer window, the Blues will continue to look stronger.
It all bodes well for their ability to compete on all fronts in 2014/15.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @garryhayes.
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