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Is Chelsea now a top contender for the Premier League title next season?

When Frank Lampard was announced as Chelsea boss on July 4, 2019, to succeed Maurizio Sarri ahead of the 2019-20 season, there were a lot of eyebrows raised with his appointment.

A lot of football fans wrote him off and believed he lacked the experience to manage a top club like Chelsea. However, against all the odds, Lampard proved his doubters wrong by securing a top-four finish and clinching a Champions League spot.

Chelsea secured Champions League qualification on the final day of the season courtesy of a 2-0 win against Wolves. Lampard achieved this remarkable feat with youngsters after the club was stung with a two-window transfer embargo. After an impressive first season at the Bridge as a Premier League manager, the Chelsea board have rewarded Lampard by throwing their weight behind him in the transfer market. Chelsea has been the busiest of the Premier League clubs in this summer transfer window. They have signed Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr, and Kai Havertz.

Chelsea has hugely strengthened their attacking force with this new look and expensively assembled squad. Many football fans out there are of the view that Lampard’s side can give champions Liverpool and Man City serious competition next season.

 

Why Chelsea look favorites to challenge for the title

With the kind of signings Chelsea has made so far, they look like a team going for the title next season. Last season Chelsea conceded 54 goals in the Premier League, which is astonishing by a team that ended up finishing in a top-four position. Lampard was desperate to add experience and leadership to his leaky defense and has gone in for the veteran Brazilian defender Thiago Silva. Silva is 35, but he still has plenty to offer. If you saw him in the just-ended Champions League, Thiago Silva showed that he can still cut it at the highest level. He coped well against players like Robert Lewandowski, who is arguably the best striker on this planet earth currently, Serge Gnabry and Yussuf Poulsen. One of Silva’s biggest weapon is organizing the back four very well and reading the game well. The way Silva reads the game is incredible. His positioning is pretty good. Silva’s attributes are what Lampard lacked in his defense last season.

Lampard has also addressed his left-back position by signing Ben Chilwell from Leicester City. Chilwell is a clear upgrade on Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri. Chilwell has an unbelievable pace to get up and down the wing. In modern-day football, full-backs joining the attack is no longer an option but a priority. A typical example is what Liverpool’s Trent-Alexander Arnold and Andy Robertson are doing. In the Chelsea attacking department, Lampard now has the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, and Kai Havertz. Lampard’s attacking signings show he is hungry for goals, and he means business come next season. The attacking trio of Wener, Ziyech, and Havertz recorded devastating numbers at their former clubs last season.

Last season, the likes of Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham were also in good shape, with only Man City and Liverpool scoring more goals than Chelsea. The new additions will make Lampard’s attacking department very solid and provide depth and competition for places in his attacking third. One area Lampard needs to tackle as a priority is his goalkeeping position. The writing was clearly on the wall after Kepa Arrizabalaga lost his place in the first-team to second-choice keeper Willy Caballero in their season-ending win over Wolves. Lampard appears to be unconvinced with the kind of errors his number one keeper is committing. Chelsea could either go in for a quality keeper or keep faith in Kepa and hope he learns from his mistakes.

With these big-money deals, Lampard knows he needs to deliver on Roman Abramovich’s expectations at Chelsea. Lampard’s debut season was a free hit, but this time, Abramovich wants results and trophies. He is known for sacking coaches who fail to deliver silverware for the club. The likes of Jose Mourinho, Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelloti, and Maurizio Sarri were all shown the exit door. The pressure for success will motivate Lampard, and with the kind of talent at his disposal, finding the right formula will make Chelsea serious contenders for the league title next season.

 

 What next

Although on paper, Chelsea looks favorite to challenge for the Premier League, their fans need to know that a lot of their new signings haven’t played in the Premier League before. These players came from different leagues, different teams, and a different brand of football with different managers. Although they are very talented, it will take time for some of them to adjust to the Premier League. Chelsea finished last season in the fourth position with 66 points, 33 points behind champions Liverpool. The points difference between them and Liverpool is a huge gap they need to bridge. Since it is football, anything can happen in the coming season. However, with the kind of squad they are parading, Chelsea will be a team to watch.

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