The Real Footie Analyst

Chelsea: Premier League 2011-12 preview

New Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas will unfortunately have his work cut out for him as he tries to correct last season’s under-acheivement. The only thing going for him is that he knows the club, the setup, and most of the players from his time as Jose Mourinho’s assistant. Villas-Boas steamrolled his way on to securing the Portuguese title with Porto and subsequently winning the Europa League – so there must be something ‘special’ about him. Chelsea had a great start to last season but faltered mid-way and later on as injuries to key players like Frank Lampard, and a misfiring front line took it’s toll on the defending champions. In fact, Chelsea sold and let go of all their experience and it showed. Ballack, Carvalho and Deco were sorely missed at times and it goes to show how hard it can be to balance an exuberance of youth with wiser and older professionals. The new manager will have to get the balance right to sustain any serious title challenge.

To date Chelsea have not made any key or marquee signings to suggest they may be be pencilled in as title favourites. They’d be foolish to place all their eggs in one basket by only pursuing their top target, Luka Modic. He may well be the answer to the obvious lack of decent service for the hapless Fernando Torres and ageing Didier Drogba, but Chelsea need alternatives. Spurs’ midfield dynamo Modric will surely make them a force to be reckoned with as he will look to compliment Lampard in midfield and allow for Villas-Boas to implement his offensive style of football. Chelsea may well bring in younger players like Daniel Sturridge and Josh McEachran, or they could be biding their time in the transfer market in the hope that the right player becomes available. All of this could end up being precious time wasted and cost them a chance of regaining the title.

Fernando Torres needs a player in the mould of Steven Gerrard to help him find his devastating finishing ability, and the likes of Kaka and Neymar have already been mentioned if Modric fails to make the move to Stamford Bridge. Give Torres the service he so baldy needs and half the job is done.

Key Player: Fernando Torres

Prediction: 3rd

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