Premier League Predictions: 3rd Place Chelsea

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In this Wednesday, July 22, 2020 file photo, Chelsea's Christian Pulisic controls the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England. (Phil Noble/Pool via AP, file)

Chelsea has had a busy transfer window with the club bringing in multiple players as Frank Lampard looks to take his next step toward conquering the league. With a new and improved squad, Chelsea look set to challenge for the Premier League title. However, these young stars have never played a competitive Premier League game, and fans all around the world know the Premier League is a different beast. It will be interesting to see how much these players contribute to the squad and how Lampard will handle the immense talent he has at his disposal. With that being said, I believe 3rd place is where the Blues will end up.  

I have Chelsea finishing just ahead of Arsenal. Third seems fair for the Blues as on paper, their squad is way better than last years. With Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell they have upgraded in every position they needed to except goalkeeper, and they might get a deal done for a keeper in the next week or so. Combine those talents with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi, it seems Chelsea has the right mixture of young talent and experience. There are still two things I believe are holding Chelsea back from contending with Liverpool and Manchester City for the title: defense and Frank Lampard.  

Chelsea’s defense conceded 51 goals last year. That was the most among the top 10 teams in the Premier League. Now don’t get me wrong, Chelsea did improve defensively by bringing in experienced center-back Thiago Silva from French club Paris Saint Germain and buying left-back Ben Chilwell from Leicester City. I believe both of those players are upgrades in their respective positions, but signing a 35-year-old center-back isn’t completely solving your problems in the heart of your defense. As for Chilwell, he’s good but is he worth his 50-million-euro price tag? We will have to wait and see.  

It will be interesting to see how Lampard plans to line up defensively for the beginning of the season. Captain César Azpilicueta could possibly miss the start of the season with a hamstring injury he picked up in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal. This could see midfielder Reece James playing as a set right-back rather than a wing-back. It looks as though Chilwell will be slotted into the left-back role beating out Marcos Alonso and Emerson as both players have been linked with moves away from the club.  

Keeping on the topic of Lampard and his tactics, in my personal opinion, they are lacking behind other coaches. Fifty-one conceded goals speak for itself, but sometimes the play of his team looked very unmotivated and sloppy. Looking back at the FA Cup final, Chelsea came out firing, playing well for the first 10 minutes of the match. After that, they disappeared until the last 15. Lampard will need to find a way and a formation that will complement the strengths of his squad, hide the weaknesses and keep the ball away from goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga who had a dreadful season for the Blues, losing his job as the number one keeper ahead of the FA Cup.  

Now with a loaded midfield with the likes of N’Golo Kanté, Jorginho, Mateo Kovačić and Havertz, Lampard will have no problems or lack of depth when it comes to setting up his midfield. Who he will choose to be his striking force week in and week out will be very interesting.  

Bringing in Werner who scored 35 goals and had 13 assists for German side RB Leipzig is a great move. Those stats and his pace will likely see him picked ahead of Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham in the team. It will be interesting to see if Ziyech lines up as a winger or as an attacking midfielder. Captain America, Christian Pulisic, was in great form before suffering a hamstring injury in the FA Cup Final. The American struggled to break into the team under Lampard but by the end of the season proved to be his most threatening option in front of goal.  

With the season just four days away, it will be interesting to see how Chelsea lines up in their opener against Brighton on Sept. 14. Lampard will hope to have another successful season as Chelsea manager, as the Blues look to compete for the League title. But whether their young stars will flourish or flop remains unknown

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