Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
There is equal parts excitement and trepidation among Chelsea supporters about their team’s prospects for the new season under the direction of their hugely popular but vastly inexperienced new manager Frank Lampard.
A combination of Lampard’s return and the club’s current transfer ban means that Chelsea might finally put their trust in the incredibly productive youth academy system that’s been ignored for so long, though their inability to enter the market for reinforcements of any kind leaves their new manager hamstrung nonetheless.
Having finished 3rd in the 2018/19 Premier League and won the Europa League in his solitary year at the club, Maurizio Sarri has left Lampard with a solid platform to build on, though it could just as easily prove an impossible act to follow for the new Chelsea boss.
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Position last season: 3rd
Top scorer: Eden Hazard – 16 goals.
- Maurizio Sarri remained unbeaten in his first 12 Premier League matches for Chelsea, a record for a manager at the start of his career in the competition.
- Chelsea suffered their biggest ever Premier League defeat at the hands of Man City in February 2019, losing 0-6 at the Etihad Stadium.
- Over 2.5 goals were scored in 63% of Chelsea’s Premier League away games last season – the joint 4th highest figure in the division.
- With 63 goals, Chelsea were the lowest scoring team in the top 6 last season. Eden Hazard had a hand in 49% of those goals (15 goals & 16 assists).
Mateo Kovacic – Real Madrid – £40.5m
Christian Pulisic – Borussia Dortmund – end of loan
Fankaty Dabo – Coventry – Free
Eden Hazard – Real Madrid – £90m
Ola Aina – Torino – £9m
Brad Collins – Barnsley – Free
Eduardo – Braga – Free
Gary Cahill – released
Todd Kane – released
Tomas Kalas – Bristol City – £8m
Rob Green – retired
Alvaro Morata – Atletico Madrid – £58m
Keep up to date with all the latest goings on with our Daily Transfer Update here.
Player to Watch
Chelsea paid a huge £58m fee to land Christian Pulisic from Bundesliga club Bourssia Dortmund in January, and having been allowed to stay in Germany for the remainder of the 2018/19 season, the USA international has joined up with the Blues for their preparations for the new campaign.
Somewhat worryingly for Chelsea, Pulisic found himself firmly on the periphery of the first team at Dortmund last season, starting just 9 top flight matches in all after being ousted from the side by English wonderkid Jadon Sancho.
For £58m, Pulisic will be expected to produce the goods at Stamford Bridge straight away, though a little patience might be required before Blues fans see the best of the 20-year old.
The Season Ahead
Life without Eden Hazard
As we touched on earlier, the fabulously gifted Eden Hazard contributed to almost half of Chelsea’s total Premier League goals last season, though his phenomenal statistical output alone fails to fully explain how important a player the Belgian was for the Blues.
Hazard’s departure to La Liga giants Real Madrid leaves less a gap and more a vacuous chasm for Frank Lampard to fill, and there is a real concern that Chelsea will suffer badly without Hazard’s individual match-winning brilliance.
Much will be expected of new wide attacker Christian Pulisic, though replacing Hazard is not a job the young American or anyone else is likely to want.
Where will the goals come from?
The facet of Chelsea’s play under Maurizio Sarri that was criticised most heavily last season was their lack of attacking thrust and cutting edge in the final third.
Chelsea were the lowest scorers in the Premier Leagues top 6 in 2019/20, and they scored 2 or fewer goals in 29 of their 38 league matches overall last term.
The Blues, in fact, failed to score in over a quarter of their Premier League matches (10) in total last season, and Frank Lampard will already know that improving their productivity in attacking areas is a priority problem that needs addressing.
Of course, Eden Hazard’s summer exit severely lessens Chelsea’s already lacklustre attacking threat and with Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain also no longer with the club, options and goals up front look thin on the ground.
In his only previous stint as a top-level manager with Derby County in 2018/19, Frank Lampard quickly developed a reputation for bringing the best out of younger players.
At Chelsea, Lampard will have no shortage of blossoming talent to work with, and the Blues have a high number of players who look ready for more first team exposure.
Exciting winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, schemer Mason Mount and the versatile Welsh international Ethan Ampadu are the most high-profile trio that look set for a regular Chelsea breakthrough, though midfielder Billy Gilmour and striker Tino Anjorin are also starting to impress.
Chelsea Betting Tips
Chelsea to Finish Outside the Top 4 at 8/11
Chelsea supporters will be desperate for club legend Frank Lampard to succeed in the Stamford Bridge dugout, though the managerial greenhorn is almost certain to need buckets of patience and backing in his first season with the Blues.
Eden Hazard’s departure and Chelsea’s transfer market ban are problems that Lampard has been unlucky to inherit, and with the teams around them involved in a summer arms race for reinforcements, the frustrated Blues are being forced to stand still.
The end result of that scenario could mean that Chelsea are left rooted to the spot as upgraded rivals pass them by in 2019/20. With that considered, we think there is terrific value in backing Chelsea to finish outside the Top 4 at 8/11
Click here to see the rest of our Premier League Top 4 Betting Tips.
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