Chelsea

Lack of depth may be a prob­lem

World Soccer - - Contents -

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.

● TAC­TICS

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

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