1 KEEP HAZARD HAPP Y
Stop faffing about with false nines, which led to the sagging-shoulders schtick at Manchester City. Eden Hazard is best cutting in from the inside left channel, free to create as he sees fit. He is 27, with interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona, and Chelsea must do everything they can to keep him sweet.
2 BUY BETTER
You may have heard on Radio Conte that last summer’s window wasn’t the best. Alvaro Morata faded badly, Danny Drinkwater started five league games all season, Tiemoue Bakayoko seldom looked a $70m player and Davide Zappacosta didn’t dislodge Victor Moses at wing-back. It’s also been rumoured that Ross Barkley is at the club. Dynamic quality must be brought in to refresh what now appears to be a one-paced, functional squad. Pass master Jorginho, following Sarri from Napoli for $99m, was a good start.
3 THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is obviously the standout, but other academy graduates deserve game time. Six days after his 17th birthday, Wales international Ethan Ampadu became Chelsea’s youngest player in a decade, while Callum Hudson-Odoi, a world champion with England’s Under-17s, also got minutes. Andreas Christensen showed the value in trying out youth.
4 DO THE EUROPA PROPERLY
It’s laborious, but it’s a chance to blood youngsters who aren’t out on loan. Atletico Madrid could’ve done without the hassle last season, but the feelgood factor around winning helped them to keep their star players.
5 GET ON A ROLL…
…and stay on it. Chelsea remain a very streaky team. Go three or four games unbeaten and the Blues often put on a surge, such as the 13-game winning run which secured the 2016-17 title. Yet the reverse is also true. Between the end of January and mid-April, they won just twice, a spell that included five defeats in seven Premier League fixtures. When things go against them, the players need to stand up and be counted. After all, it can’t always be the manager’s fault.