West Ham will provide a tough test for Chelsea, there’s nothing better than a London derby under the lights at night. West Ham, as we saw last year are efficient, work hard and work well always turning up with a game plan.
So if we know what West Ham will bring to the table, what about Chelsea?
With a new manager and new signings as well as a seemingly resurgent Eden Hazard we expect a better showing than last year but the fact is we don’t know what to expect from Chelsea.
It’s the same back four as last season; Jose tried to rectify this with John Stones whilst Chelsea have tried to sign Koulibaly from Napoli yet to no avail this summer.
Many expected that with Conte, Chelsea would tighten up at the back, after a season where the side uncharacteristically leaked goals. Italy were solid defensively at the Euros yet Chelsea haven’t really looked like this, keeping just 2 clean sheets in 6 games.
Terry isn’t getting any younger, Cahill and Ivanovic need to improve after last term too. The bright lights remain Zouma who should be returning, and Azpilicueta who has impressed at full back since joining from Marseille in 2012.
This means that new boy N’Golo Kante’s workload will increase as he will have to work harder to shield a shaky defence - especially important with Dimitri Payet coming to town tonight!
Further forward, Hazard needs a big season. His drop off was astounding, I don’t think I have seen a bigger drop off from a top level player in his prime as the difference between 2014/2015 Hazard and 2015/2016 Hazard was huge. We know what he is capable of, and when he is at it, he is one of the best but the best players do it week in and week out rather than one season on then taking the next off.
After all the talk, I think Costa will stay, we’ve got to the point where Chelsea will want to be bringing people in rather than letting them go. We’ve already seen Bertrand Traore head to Ajax, so there is a space for a new striker - possibly old boy Romelu Lukaku.
Michy Batshuayi will be learning the ropes this season, so Chelsea are pretty light up top. If Costa gets injured, the goal scoring onus falls on a young, inexperienced Batshuayi, which isn’t ideal.
I think the team needs 3 additions; a centre back, a left back and a striker. If and when they come in then we will be better poised to discuss just what this side can do.