Chelsea secured a memorable FA Cup and Champions League double last season after interim manager Roberto Di Matteo led Roman Abramovich’s side to a strong finish amid a disturbed league campaign.
The Russian billionaire responded by spending almost £60 million on players this season, which should increase further following the expected arrival of Wigan’s Victor Moses.
The shift of Chelsea’s old guard certainly seems to be gathering pace with plenty of new midfield signings arriving over the summer.
Chelsea’s biggest coup has been the capture of Lille playmaker Eden Hazard, with the Blues beating Manchester United to his signature. Hazard won the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award for the past two seasons in France and looks set for a starring role in Roberto Di Matteo’s new look midfield, behind Fernando Torres in a free-roaming position.
That will likely push Chelsea favorite Frank Lampard into a deep-lying midfield role akin to Paul Scholes at Manchester United, with Di Matteo favoring a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Lampard looks set to battle it out with Mikel, Meireles and Chelsea’s “forgotten man” Michael Essien for the more defensive-minded midfield positions.
The biggest change, however, will likely come further up the field, with Oscar, Hazard and Juan Mata providing a new-look dynamic front three.
The emergence of Oscar at the Olympics will push the Brazilian’s claim for a starting role in Chelsea’s line-up, although the £25 million signing from Internacional may not begin the campaign after featuring heavily for the Selecao over the summer.
Oscar will carry Didier Drogba’s number 11 shirt and on the evidence of Chelsea’s pre-season form, the Blues will need the midfielder sooner rather than later.
The impressive Ramires should initially regain his place following his exploits in the Champions League last season, which highlighted the Brazilian’s drive and energy from midfield, whilst Marko Marin could similarly feature early on.
The former Werder Bremen player is blessed with electric pace and dribbling skills and Marin’s creativity on the wing has led to 30 assists in just three seasons in the Bundesliga between 2008 and 2011.
As mentioned before, Di Matteo’s potential use of the 4-2-3-1 formation is poised to lead to the selection of the following starting line-up once all players are available for selection:
Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Torres
All things considered, Chelsea’s summer signings certainly appear to have boosted expectations around Stamford Bridge, with many fans optimistic that the Blues can challenge the two Manchester clubs for the Premier League title this season.
Jonathan Day is a football betting expert specialising in Premier League football. Jonathan currently writes for Sportingly Better, a football betting blog that offers free football predictions and fantasy football picks. You can follow Sportingly Better on Twitter for all the latest free betting tips.