Heading into 2018-19, what are Chelsea strengths & weaknesses?
CFC Live editors reflect on what to be excited & worried about even putting the 2-0 Community Shield defeat out of the equation
Chelsea lifelong fan Patrice writes for CFC Live: ''With the arrival of the new manager and several key players almost certain to leave the club, the Blues look to force their way back into the top four of the English Premiership as well as compete decently in other tournaments.
''The most urgent task to complete now is to use the remaining transfer window (closes on August 9th) to form the final lineup for the season. As for today, one can only speculate on the abilities of the team. So, let's do it.
1. The new manager Maurizio Sarri did an impressive job in Italy last season. His team Napoli finished 2nd and showed excellent defensive play, high tempo in transition and smashing counterattacks. He brought midfielder Jorginho along with him to Stamford Bridge, who hopefully will be able to replace Kante if need be.
2. Real Madrid is reported to be interested in Belgium internationals Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois. They are key players, no doubt, but compensation for the loss may outweigh the grievances in the long run. If they do not go (at least Hazard)... this will be the year’s best news!
3. As Chelsea does not take part in the Champions League this season (their fifth place in 2017-18 made it sure), it has the advantage of focusing mostly on domestic games.
4. Chelsea's play in the air is second to none in the league: their 17 headers are four more than second-place Arsenal. The question remains, though, how many high crosses Sarri will allow his team to perform during a game.
5. Bakayoko needs to be given a second chance – he can only improve from this point on (if merely to provide proper justification for his £40 million transfer).
1. Potential loss of crucial players, like Hazard, Courtois, and Kante may disrupt the team's kinetics and chemistry. It will not be easy to adequately replace any of them fast.
2. The Blues need a striker. While there is some hope that Morata would get fully adapted to the League, the loss of Diego Costa early this year was heavily felt. Even if Morata does nicely, he will need a reinforcement.
3. There is some "deadwood" to get rid of. Some experts and fans believe that Drinkwater, Zappacosta, Pedro are "nowhere near Chelsea quality". They may be wrong.
4. Offside failures. Chelsea players were caught offside on 108 occasions last season, more than any other team.
5. Bakayoko. Most of the last season he was a liability, redoubling the team's overreliance on Kante in midfield.
Can you name more?