Chelsea’s title chances in 2013-14

Jose Mourinho has returned to the Stamford Bridge club, and with a star-studded squad at his disposal will look to win his third Premier League title.

Chelsea have arguably the strongest squad in the Premier League, and with Mourinho back at the helm the West Londoners will be in the mix for the title this term.

It is likely that the Stamford Bridge outfit will add at least one more player to their contingent before the transfer window closes, with their pursuit of Wayne Rooney ongoing. To date their signings of note have been Dutch attacking midfielder Marco van Ginkel and Germany international attacker Andre Schurrle.

Mourinho has chosen to retain Petr Cech as his mumber one by sending Thibaut Courtois back to Atletico Madrid for a third successive campaign. In front of the giant stopper it remains to be seen who will play in the heart of the Blues’ defence. Rumours continue to link David Luiz with a switch to Barcelona, but this is unlikely to happen. Branislav Ivanovic will be an ever-present when fit, but the Serb could also be used at full-back. John Terry will have to fight for a berth in the starting XI.

In midfield Chelsea fans will hope that Michael Essien can return to the form he showed in Mourinho’s first stint at the club. The enforcer role in the Blues line-up is there for the taking, with Jon Obi Mikel and potentially Luiz slotting into defensive midfield on occasion.

Ahead of that the Blues’ attacking trident of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar should continue as first-choice, but the additions of Van Ginkel and Schurrle, and the return from loan of Kevin De Bruyne, means competition for places is fierce.

Chelsea may well still buy a striker, with Rooney the first choice for Mourinho. If they fail to land the Manchester United man it could be a blessing in disguise though, as Romelu Lukaku returns to the club after an impressive loan spell at West Brom. The Belgian powerhouse is ready to be unleashed on the Premier League, and with Mata, Oscar and Hazard creating chances for him, Lukaku has the potential to fire the Blues to the title.

Fernando Torres will look for a fresh lease of life under a new manager but may well find first-team opportunities few and far between, while Demba Ba looks to be well down the pecking order.

Chelsea will look to get off to a good start and a positive result at Old Trafford in their second game of the season would have the ability to give them the belief to go on and win the division. Mourinho will need to get his selection correct in defensive midfield and up front, and if he does, the Blues will be there or thereabouts come May.

image: © Jason Bagley

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