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A summer full of big-name transfers put Chelsea into the headlines in England and Europe in hopes of fighting for a title this season with a renewed team. From Timo Werner at the top to veteran central defender Thiago Silva at the bottom line anchor, there’s just a different feel at Stamford Bridge this season.
Day one saw them start off on a positive note, burying Brighton convincingly. But in just their second game of the campaign, the Blues faced a daunting task against reigning champions Liverpool. A red card just before the half finally hurt Chelsea, and the Reds finally took three points away thanks to Sadio Mane’s double in the second period.
However, since that loss to the Merseysiders, the Blues have looked very promising, going undefeated in their last eight national games. Four of them have been tied, but the amount of goals they are scoring is a sign that all the money they spent in the previous transfer window to bolster their attack has paid off. Frank Lampard’s team has accumulated 22 goals, the best in the league, tied with Liverpool. They have also conceded just 10 times, a testament to their strong defense.
The congested team is raising the level of play within
Many people were quick to wonder what Lampard would do with such a massive squad filled with shocking talents at all times. Just since last season, they already had players like Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi in the final third. With the signings of Werner, Kai Havertz and playmaker Hakim Ziyech, a mystery remained as to how all of these players would find minutes.
Although Pulisic and Ziyech have lost time due to injuries, the competition that has been created within Chelsea’s attack has been phenomenal. Within training, when you know that minutes must be gained, you are actually raising the level of play and each player is holding each other to a different level. Obviously, injuries are always going to happen as well, so it’s good for Lampard to know that he has a lot of options to choose from.
The same goes for the midfield and the bottom line. Jorginho, for example, played basically every game last season for Chelsea. He was a stone in the middle of the field and had more touches than most in the Premier League. Due to Mount’s impressive form as he typically returns to a midfield three typically alongside Mateo Kovacic and N’golo Kante, Jorginho has been the odd man at times this season. But even he himself said that it is positive for the team because he is improving them as a whole by fighting for playing time.
Defensively, Thiago Silva has stepped in and formed a phenomenal partnership with Kurt Zouma as two behind. Sadly, Antonio Rudiger has been left out for his resurgence of the Brazilian and the French, but the German international continues to insist that he wants to fight for his place. Although Rudiger’s game came under scrutiny towards the end of last season, it is encouraging for Lampard to know that he has another quality center-back just waiting his turn.
After conceding too many goals in 2019/20, the bottom-line problems that have haunted Chelsea for several years seem to be in the past; for now. With two extremely strong full-backs also in the young Reece James and former Leicester star Ben Chilwell, the Blues are in good hands on their own side.
Ziyech and Werner are the pieces that Chelsea needed
Havertz has also impressed since his summer change from Leverkusen. But COVID-19 and injury issues have limited his minutes recently. However, the youngster will undoubtedly be a vital part of the future of this club.
However, Ziyech and Werner have finally shown why Chelsea was so adamant about bringing in this attacking duo. The former Ajax player had a decorated pedigree before arriving in London, possessing world-class playmaking skills and vision on the field. Although it took Ziyech time to make his debut for the Blues after dealing with injury issues early on, he has been in a daze ever since. Through six national appearances, the star has already added three assists by scoring a goal of his own.
The creativity that Ziyech brings to this team was much needed as he has been able to throw countless quality curling balls into the box from the right flank to find his fellow attackers. Then with the ball at these feet, the Moroccan international is quick and fast, displaying wonderful dribbling skills while at the same time having the pace to beat opponents in a jiffy. Ziyech can change the game in seconds in a number of ways, a skill Chelsea have lost since Eden Hazard’s departure for Real Madrid.
Werner proved to be a world-class finalist throughout his years with Bundesliga team RB Leipzig, racking up 28 goals last season for Julien Nagelsmann’s team alone. The 24-year-old was wanted by many clubs across Europe this summer, but it was the Blues who were ultimately the ones who were able to secure his signing. So far, it has been worth every penny, as the German has bagged eight goals in 15 competitive matches and also has three assists.
Although Werner has not scored since the international break, he has been instrumental overall this season. The opportunities have been there for him, it’s just a matter of saving them. His ability to do solo races and beat numerous players in the future due to his pace has resulted in him also preparing his teammates for easy finishes. Werner was initially slow to adjust to the style of play in England, but he definitely fulfilled his role in attack up to this point.
Mendy has been a dream signing
The countless disappointing performances of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s record-breaking signing between the sticks ultimately resulted in Chelsea going out to find another goalkeeper just before the transfer window ended, bringing on Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. Arguably this might have been the best addition of all. In 11 games, he has already posted eight clean sheets, while conceding just three goals. Along the way, Mendy has made numerous extensive saves that have changed the outcome of matches, including a top-notch performance in one of his first appearances against Manchester United.
There is nothing better than having tons of attackers who can score goals, but it is impossible to look past a goalkeeper who can provide so much consistency on a weekly basis. Mendy has done just that and is emerging as the man of the future in Chelsea’s goal.
Should Chelsea be in title talks?
It’s only been 10 games in the Premier League season, but given their initial form, the Blues should certainly be considered a contender for the title. Only a few points separate many different sides at the moment, but Chelsea’s good form should be noted. They’ve strengthened their squad in every area imaginable and we all knew it wouldn’t work out right away. But now, all these new players are starting to consolidate and understand each other. Frank Lampard has learned who is a better fit in certain positions and barring injuries this team can certainly run in first place this season.
Currently third in the league and just two points off the top, it will be exciting to see where they finish in May.