Lack of depth may be a problem
Who calls the shots these days?
Italian manager Antonio Conte signed an improved two-year contract during the summer, but rumours still persist of strained relations with director Marina Granovskaia, who is the key channel to owner Roman Abramovich, and sporting director Michael Emenalo.
Can Chelsea compete on two fronts?
Although they walked away with the Premier League in Conte’s first season, it was the club’s first campaign in 20 years with no midweek European commitment. New recruits Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko have added quality, but the summer departure of Nemanja Matic and the continued stand-off with Diego Costa have raised concerns that the squad lacks depth.
Will any youngsters get a chance?
This summer Chelsea sold a number of talented youngsters, including Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford), Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) and Bertrand Traore (Lyon). Others, such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) and Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) are among 26 (and counting) currently out on loan.
The successful switch to a back three defined Conte’s stewardship last season, with wing-backs Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses providing added attacking threats. There are new options in defence with Rudiger’s arrival from Roma – who he will meet again in this group – and the return from an extended Bundesliga loan of Andreas Christensen compensating for John Terry’s departure to Aston Villa. The versatile Cesar Azpilicueta can also switch to either side of David Luiz, while Bakayoko is likely to partner N’Golo Kante in central midfield, although Cesc Fabregas is also likely to feature. Costa’s absence has given Michy Batshuayi a chance to challenge Morata for a starting place up front.
Attacking threat ...Victor Moses