Unfathomable to think, but Chelsea of all teams could be the new neutrals favourites. A title usually given to Arsenal for their exhilarating football, last year we saw Swansea as the new neutrals favourites with their brand of diet Barcelona football gaining them the neutrals plaudits. Chelsea’s summer business have them in pole position to be this years team to watch. Ever since Abramovich’s takeover Chelsea have been a figure of resentment from the rest of league, all their success was cursed with the accusations of “buying it” whilst failures provided opportunity for gloating. It didn’t help that Mourinho while an enigmatic figure, played an ugly brand of football. Meanwhile on and off the pitch issues led Chelsea’s iconic players of the era Lampard, Drogba, Cole and Terry to become the poster boys of the team everyone loves to hate. Several managers later and a few personal changes and Chelsea look finally to be in the position to shed this stigma.
Hold me closer Tiny Drogba
It begins at the top (well under Abramovich) with manager Roberto Di Matteo. A Chelsea legend in his own right and all around good guy, Di Matteo had his career cut short by injury. He become a decent coach who worked his way up through the lower leagues and landed a good job at West Brom, he did an admirable job but was replaced when Hodgeson came available. When Villas Boas came to Stamford Bridge, Di Matteo was appointed assistant. With two exciting young managerial talents at the helm there was an air of excitement around Stamford Bridge, the signing of Juan Mata was expected to lead to the rejuvenation of Torres which would be key for the beginning of a new era at the club. We all know how that ended, Villas Boas who cut a likeable character during his introduction to English football look a desperate and paranoid figure come Christmas time when Chelsea already looked out of the title race. It wasn’t long before he was gone, with Di Matteo given interim duties, at this point Chelsea already looked out of the Champions League and far out of the title race, pursuing fourth and perhaps the F.A cup were as seen as the best Di Matteo could aim for. An inspired 4-1 win against Napoli secured them an improbable task of facing Barcelona in the semi-finals, this resulted in three heroic defensive displays to take Chelsea to their first ever Champions League trophy. Fa cup success as well ensured Di Matteo would at least be in contention for the permanent job. The players love him, the fans love him and Abramovich decided this upon the two cup successes was enough to give the relatively inexperienced Di Matteo a shot, its a gamble but after delivering the grandest prize Di Matteo deserves a chance.
Lucas Piazon, see he even looks like Kaka
The Champions League run was the first time Chelsea had the neutrals support, their backs to the wall performances had every football fan in Europe on the edge of their seat and people began seeing the club in a different light. This season fans will be on the edge of their seats for a different reason, Chelsea’s summer business has assembled a new generation of stars to compliment the talent that’s already there. Eden Hazard was the hottest property in Europe and Chelsea landed the exciting playmaker, they also nabbed Marko Marin, Kevin De Bruyne (De Bruyne signed last season but was loaned back) and now reports are surfacing they are thrashing out personal terms with Oscar one of the new Brazilian generations electrifying attacking midfielders. All these players show intent of a brand of football that will certainly be beautiful and exciting. There is untapped talent at Chelsea also, their youth ranks contain Ulises Davilla who was on loan last season, the Mexican is set to excite fans at the London Olympics and could feature in the first squad next season. Lucas Piazon was dubbed the new Kaka before Oscar was dubbed the new Kaka and after dominating the youth and reserve leagues could be called up. Josh McEacharan is reminiscent of Wilishere before his breakthrough loan spell at Bolton, with Lampard aging he could be slowly introduced to the squad first team again this year.
With a bit of a fringe Oscar could rival Lucas Piazon for best Kaka costume at the Chelsea Halloween party.
Mata and Sturridge will certainly benefit from this group of exciting acquisitions, but Torres will be the main beneficiary. With this much creativity surrounding the misfiring Spaniard he should finally find form worthy of 50 million pounds, his improvement under Di Matteo and 3 goals at the Euros show he is on the mend, if he can find his scoring boots he could be spearheading the most exciting team in the Premier League next season. Lukaku is waiting in the wings also and the Belgian whose style of play has every uttering the words “Drogba” should be given more of a shot this year after been cruelly overlooked by Andre Villas Boas despite Drogba and Torres misfiring for much of the season. It will be a much different Chelsea this year, but we should look forward to an exciting group of young players, Abromavich forked out a lot of money this summer so it shows he still has the hunger to create the best and most exciting team in the world, with the current crop of players there is potential for just that.