With the remainder of the 2019/20 season confirmed to resume at long last, we can definitely take some interesting learnings from each team. With the title all but sealed by Liverpool this year, we look ahead to next season.
Incredibly, aside from Manchester City up in 3rd place and Chelsea at 4th, we see a few of the traditional ‘big boys’ of the premier league in Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United dwindling down at 8th, 7th and 5th places respectively. To take nothing away from the likes of Leicester, Wolves and Sheffield United, this Premier League clearly looks differently to the one we’ve grown used to seeing over the last decade.
Within this article We Love Sport‘s Jonathan Fone looks at Chelsea in particular. Whilst having clinched a top four spot and securing Champions League football for next season (in whatever shape or form that will look like!) – it’s clear that they’re in a transition period after being hampered by a transfer ban last summer. A blessing in disguise to many fans of promoting youth in the squad, Chelsea are clearly looking to spend the big bucks to bring in some big names this summer. Let’s take a look at how Chelsea’s starting XI could look next season. For this we will be sticking to Frank Lampard’s favoured formation of a 4-2-3-1.
*Disclaimer – this starting line up is based on opinion and transfer rumour only!*
Goalkeeper: André Onana
With Kepa Arrizabalaga seemingly deemed ‘not up to scratch’ by Frank Lampard at various points this season, rumours surround a potential departure to the likes of Valencia. Whether this is on loan or a full transfer, remains to be seen. An amazing development considering he is not only the most expensive goalkeeper of all time, but also Chelsea’s record signing.
It has been suggested for a while that 24 year old Cameroonian shot stopper André Onana could be on the verge of a move to Chelsea to join team-mate on the move, Hakim Ziyech, and has publicly stated that his time has ‘come to take a step’.
With Willy Caballero also signing a year extension on his contract, he could continue as a solid backup goalkeeper for next season.
Left Back: Ben Chilwell
According to various sources, Leicester City are becoming increasingly resigned to the 23 year old leaving the club as they step up their search for a replacement left back. Ben Chilwell the England full back has been continuously linked to Chelsea since the start of the season, with Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri potentially on the way out.
Centre Backs: Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rüdiger
Whilst it’s clear that defence has been shaky at times in the 19/20 season, anyone following Chelsea’s development this season can see that Lampard is a big fan of promoting youth players whilst being keen to promote some form of stability in the squad. By sticking with the current defensive line-up, this can provide a massive boost to the confidence of these players, especially relatively younger and rotation defenders on the bench such as Andreas Christensen and the highly praised Fikayo Tomori.
Right Back: César Azpilicueta
Known affectionately to Chelsea fans as ‘Dave’; it’s unlikely we will see a move away from the bridge from newly promoted ‘skipper’ César Azpilicueta. After 8 years of service at the club the 30 year old remains a versatile rock in Chelsea’s defence, whilst also often providing an imporant attacking threat up front from a wing back position.
It would also be foolish to overlook the highly rated 20 year old Reece James. Lampard must surely be looking to offer game time wherever possible for the England right back to showcase his ability and talent, as many tout him to become the No.1 right back for England in years to come.
Central Midfielders: N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovačić
Central midfield is clearly Chelsea’s strongest position. It is incredibly difficult to pick only two players to make the cut! Kanté probably being first name on the team sheet of course; arguably the best defensive midfielder in Europe, World Cup and two time Premier League winner for Leicester CIty and Chelsea, how couldn’t we. Alongside him we have picked Croatian maestro Kovačić, who really has emerged as a stand out midfielder this season and has achieved the best dribble success rate of any player in the Premier League to have attempted over 30 take-ons (79.31%).
In reserves we have the likes of Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Billy Gilmour and Ross Barkley – squad depth not to be sniffed at.
Right Wing: Kai Havertz
The young German Kai Havertz who has been on fire in the Bundesliga this season would be a massive signing for the blues, who are reportedly optimistic about fending off interest from other clubs such as Real Madrid. Chelsea fans are hailing ‘Agent Rüdiger’ as the potential catalyst to see this transfer through!
Kai Havertz would be a superb addition to Chelsea’s forward threat and would help to ease the rumoured upcoming departure of Willian and Pedro.
Attacking Midfield: Hakim Ziyech
A signing confirmed in early 2020 for a total of £38m, the Ajax winger officially joins Chelsea from 1st July. Ziyech has been backed to thrive with the Stamford Bridge outfit and can be deployed in several positions, whether in the centre of the attacking midfield or out on the wing.
Mason Mount sits comfortably ready to take over in the case that Lampard prefers Ziyech out wide after an impressive 19/20 campaign in the number 8 position.
Left Wing: Christian Pulisic
Before his injury this season on New Year’s day, the young American had been arguably one of Chelsea’s most potent forwards and had given the blues a real cutting edge. They’ll certainly be looking forward to having him back at full fitness next season and unleashed alongside the new signings expected this summer. Pulisic bagged an impressive hat-trick against Burnley which is just a flavour of what he has to offer next season.
Chelsea also have exciting backup on the wings in the shape of Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Forward: Timo Werner
Anyone who has been following the Bundesliga this season will know just how effective the 24 year old German at RB Liepzig can be in attack; fast, strong, and with excellent goalscoring ability, Timo Werner is definitely one to keep an eye on, assuming Chelsea can finalise the transfer.
Chelsea fans will be licking their lips to see him in action, with Tammy Abraham, 22, ready to continue the fantastic effort of the 19/20 season when required after scoring 13 goals in 25 league appearances. Alternatively, Lampard may decide to play the two together as a strike partnership which could provide an attacking threat to intimidate any defensive line in Europe.