Chelsea have the look of champs
Tom McDermott runs the rule over Chelsea in his column and feels Jose Mourinho's side are the team to beat this season.
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Chelsea are the team to beat this campaign. It’s unlikely that Jose Mourinho will go another season without winning a trophy especially after the improvements he has made to his squad.
While other clubs are struggling to conclude deals or still searching for players, Mourinho got the majority of his business done early and his team are ready to hit the ground running.
Defensively there may still be one or two question marks, but if Nemanja Matic can snuff out the danger in front of Gary Cahill and John Terry then the West London side have enough going forward to pose a threat at home and in the Champions League.
So, which of Chelsea’s stars can we expect to impress the most?
World-class Costa ended last season with a La Liga winners medal and over 30 goals for Atletico Madrid. Costa provides a physical presence and killer instinct that the club have lacked since Didier Drogba left the first time in 2012.
He’s not all strength, though. After spending last year moaning about not having a good enough strike force, Mourinho mentioned recently that some of his players are surprised at how good Costa is technically.
On top of this, Costa appears to have put Spain’s World Cup disappointment behind him by warming up during pre-season with a few goals.
What better than a striker full of confidence?
Costa to fire Chelsea to the title and to top the scoring charts might be worth a punt.
Mourinho says that he knows who will start the season in goal for Chelsea and it looks like the Belgian will get the nod ahead of Petr Cech.
Chelsea have used the loan system better than most in recent years and Courtois won’t be fazed by starting in the Premier League after already playing at the highest level and winning trophies in La Liga with Atletico Madrid.
Mourinho’s problem will be what to do with Cech who has been first choice at the club since arriving from Rennes in 2004.
Veteran Mark Schwarzer is happy to play the role of number two which means Cech is unlikely to spend much time sitting on the bench.
Anyone need a multiple title winner to play in goal?
Consistency is key for Hazard and if he can find that and continue to improve again then Chelsea will have one of the most exciting forward players in Europe.
On his day, Hazard is unplayable and with the addition of Cesc Fabregas and Costa the Belgian should find more space in the attacking third to cause mayhem in the opposition defence.
Statistically Hazard did impress last season but his potential is so great that you expect him to hit new heights year-on-year.
Chelsea have again spent a lot of money during the transfer window but Mourinho will be looking for established stars like Hazard to lead their pursuit of the title.
At £27million the former Arsenal player could be the signing of the summer. Having lost his way at Barcelona, Fabregas is approaching his peak years and understands the demands of the Premier League.
Fabregas was second to Lionel Messi in the goal scoring charts at the Nou Camp last season and will be disappointed if he doesn’t reach double figures in assists and goals in 2014/15.
Mourinho will be eager to prove that he is still “special” so don’t be surprised if you see one or two extra trophies in the Stamford Bridge trophy room next May and if that is to happen Fabregas is sure to have played a leading role.
Verdict: Chelsea to complete a domestic double.