5 Key Players in Chelsea's Title Challenge
With the 2012 transfer window shut and the Premier League season well and truly underway, we can start to take a closer look at the official squads of each EPL club.
One of the main players in the transfer window, Chelsea are looking to improve on last season's triumphs in the FA Cup and Champions League by regaining the title of Premier League champions. In order to do this, it will be important that every player is performing at the top of his game, every game.
But in particular, there are a few players who will be key in securing that coveted trophy.
Here, then, are the five players who I believe to be the key in Chelsea's 2012/13 Premier League campaign.
It seems as though you cannot get through a single Chelsea article without a mention of Fernando Torres.
Here is why.
Although Chelsea were busy in the transfer window, they brought in many midfielders and no strikers. With the release of both Didier Drogba and Salamon Kalou, the message is clear: this is a team focused around Torres.
What we have already learned from the first few games this season is that Chelsea have the most success when their talented midfielders create good chances for the Spaniard.
If they can continue to do this, and Torres can continue to deliver, Chelsea should have a good season in front of goal.
If not, well, we have seen what happens.
If the international break has shown us one thing, it is that Frank Lampard, at the age of 34, can still play a crucial role in any team. Although Chelsea brought in many new midfielders this summer, Lampard has ensured his place by adjusting his style of play to better fit the team and his aging years.
Even though his new position is one that allows him to direct play from a deeper midfield position, we can still expect to see Lampard making a few of his trademark runs into the box each game, scoring goals from both the penalty spot and open play.
His excellent decision-making on the pitch and his eye for goal make him just as important to Chelsea as he was ten years ago.
John Terry may be a controversial player off the pitch, but on it he is the player that Chelsea need in the heart their defense.
With Terry suspended against Athletico Madrid, the Chelsea defense let in four goals. Of course, no one could claim that John Terry would have prevented all of those, but the holes in both organization and leadership were there for all to see.
Terry is getting older, however, and perhaps some chinks in his defensive armor are beginning to show. If John Terry is no longer the man to step up and take control of the Chelsea defense, then someone else needs to.
Perhaps that person will be Gary Cahill. But until then, Chelsea will no doubt be hoping that Terry will be fit to face QPR this weekend.
Petr Cech has been a key player for Chelsea for many of the last few seasons. Whether good or bad, the impact that a goalkeeper can have is huge.
Chelsea can normally rely on their solid defense to keep the ball out of their net, but when all else fails, it falls upon the usually reliable Cech to make up the rest.
Some have claimed that Cech is not the player that he was pre-head injury, but even if this is true, he still remains one of the best shot-stoppers in the world. And in some games this season, he will be the difference between winning and losing.
In just three games, Eden Hazard has become the one summer signing that everybody cannot stop talking about.
Well, it might be the £32m fee that Chelsea are rumored to have paid for him. Or perhaps it's the fact that in those first three games, Hazard has accumulated four assists, nine shots and one goal.
If Hazard continues as he started, especially if he can form a solid partnership with Fernando Torres, the Chelsea attack will be one that few defenses will want to face.