Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: Chil out?

Ben Chilwell could be set to follow Riyad Mahrez to Manchester according to reports in Friday's papers.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package2

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each game.

Chelsea's Ethan Ampadu, bottom center, looks on after scoring an own goal3

Europa League round-up

Rangers are out of the Europa League after Steven Gerrard's side lost to Rapid Vienna. Get all the key news from Thursday's games.

Our best bets for Sheffield United v West Brom4

Goals expected at Bramall Lane

Friday night football is set to be an entertaining one as Sheffield United welcome West Brom. Tom Carnduff has two best bets.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview
5

Entertainer at the Etihad

Man City host Everton in Saturday's early kick-off and George Pitts has two best bets for you to consider.

Chelsea season preview: Maurizio Sarri faces tough first season at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri faces a tough first season
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri faces a tough first season

Maurizio Sarri has a job on his hands at the most demanding club in the Premier League with Chelsea in serious danger of missing out on the top four again.

Sarri faced one of the toughest prospects in European football when trying to beat the all-powerful Juventus to the Serie A title and almost pulled it off at Napoli - this year's challenge could be even harder.

The turnover of managers, fall outs with top players and unrest in the dressing room is all part of life at Chelsea as the Premier League soap opera side, but the one constant during Roman Abromovich's tenure has been the steady influx of trophies.

Antonio Conte won the league in his first season - the FA Cup in his second but was fired 55 days after that triumph at Wembley and after having already sarted pre-season training.

Conte was a dead man walking after his clashes with Diego Costa and his criticism at the club's transfer policy lead to him butting heads with Abramovich - a battle in which there is only ever one winner.

They've missed out on Champions League football for this season and for Chelsea, Abramovich - owner since 2003 - and now Sarri, the challenges for getting back to Europe's top table are numerous.


Chelsea season specials (Sky Bet odds)

  • 4/1 - To win first three Premier League games
  • 2/1- Barkley to score 10+ Premier League goals
  • 10/1 - To win the Europa League & finish top 4
  • 40/1 - Chelsea win the league & Fulham relegated

Click here to the full range of Chelsea RequestABets from Sky Bet


Visa & stadium issues in the struggle of the Roman empire

Roman Abramovich has shelved plans for Chelsea's new stadium
Roman Abramovich has shelved plans for Chelsea's new stadium

There is the Russian billionaire's visa issues with the UK authorities; the decision to indefinitely postpone plans to rebuild Stamford Bridge in a project which would have cost over £1billion; and, the on-field competition from Manchester, London and Liverpool.

Sarri, appointed a day after Conte's departure was announced, will have to be a diplomat with both the Chelsea board and players uneasy at lurching from one mess to another.

Playmaker Eden Hazard may have one more season at Chelsea in him, but it might be just the one, while Thibaut Courtois is off to Real Madrid to be replaced by a £70m punt on Spanish youngster Kepa from Athletic Bilbao.


Premier League season previews


Sarri has shown his readiness to blend journeymen and youth in the past - could he be the man to finally use the products of Chelsea's famed youth set-up?

He may be more willing than previous Chelsea bosses to promote the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek to the first XI, although he himself looks like heading back to Crystal Palace.

Perhaps the personnel changes will come from within. Maybe Tomas Kalas, Kurt Zouma, Michy Batshuayi and Marco van Ginkel will be among those finally given a chance to impress in the first-team squad.

Italy midfielder Jorginho has already signed for the Blues, following Sarri from Napoli. What does that mean for England international Danny Drinkwater, who endured a miserable first season following his move from Leicester?

Chelsea under threat even after deadline day

Eden Hazard and Chelsea can pick up three points in the derby clash
Eden Hazard could still be picked off by Real Madrid in late August

Chelsea, more than any other team, are under threat from the early transfer window closer in the Premier League, as a poor start to the season could see Barcelona and Real Madrid offering the likes of Hazard and William escape routes until the end of August

Willian cut a forlorn figure at times last term. Maybe that was frustration with Conte, but the Brazilian has long been linked with a move away to Barcelona. He says he's staying but we all know how quickly things can change.

And World Cup winner N'Golo Kante continues to attract admirers at such a rate that Chelsea may have a decision to make about the France midfielder as well.


Premier League Golden Boot (Sky Bet odds)

  • 5/1 - Mohamed Salah
  • 25/1 - Alvaro Morata
  • 28/1 - Eden Hazard

Whether Chelsea stick or twist regarding record signing Alvaro Morata will be intriguing. The £58million signing from Real Madrid has been linked with a move after a mixed first season at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have the challenge of playing in the Europa League on Thursdays. How will that impact on their domestic duties?

Chelsea are already playing catch-up after finishing fifth, 30 points behind runaway champions Manchester City last term.

Sarri needs to get to work quickly - and have the support of the club and the players. Otherwise, the Blues risk falling further off the pace.

And speculation that the Italian will be discarded will begin. For that is the way of life at Chelsea.

Premier League 2018/19 Preview podcast: Available now!
Premier League 2018/19 Preview podcast: Available now!

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Related football links

An ever-growing swell of vocal fans got what they wanted.But he was not simply replaced at the helm. Unai Emery is the new man in charge, but will be working in a different role, having been appointed as head coach in May.He has a support team around him - chief executive Ivan Gazidis, head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat - allowing him to focus on concocting a winning formula on the training ground.

Arsenal season specials (Sky Bet odds)

  • 18/1 - To win first three Premier League games
  • 9/2- Aubameyang & Lacazette both score 20+ Premier League goals
  • 12/1 - Aubameyang top scorer & Arsenal top four finish
  • 9/1 - Top four finish + Chelsea & Spurs finish outside top four

Click here to the full range of Arsenal RequestABets from Sky Bet

Premier League season previews

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Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: Chil out?

Ben Chilwell could be set to follow Riyad Mahrez to Manchester according to reports in Friday's papers.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package2

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each game.

Chelsea's Ethan Ampadu, bottom center, looks on after scoring an own goal3

Europa League round-up

Rangers are out of the Europa League after Steven Gerrard's side lost to Rapid Vienna. Get all the key news from Thursday's games.

Our best bets for Sheffield United v West Brom4

Goals expected at Bramall Lane

Friday night football is set to be an entertaining one as Sheffield United welcome West Brom. Tom Carnduff has two best bets.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview
5

Entertainer at the Etihad

Man City host Everton in Saturday's early kick-off and George Pitts has two best bets for you to consider.

Football Tips

Our best bets for Sheffield United v West Brom

Goals expected at Bramall Lane

Friday night football is set to be an entertaining one as Sheffield United welcome West Brom. Tom Carnduff has two best bets.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview

Entertainer at the Etihad

Man City host Everton in Saturday's early kick-off and George Pitts has two best bets for you to consider.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each game.