SOCCER

Premier League Preview 2022-23 No 6: Chelsea | Soccer

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Intended position of guardian writers 4th (NB: this is not necessarily Jacob Steinberg’s prediction but the average of our editors’ predictions)

Ranking last season 3rd

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Odds of winning the league (via Oddschecker) 16-1

Outlook

It’s been a whirlwind summer at Stamford Bridge. Roman Abramovich is gone, as are the Russian’s closest allies, and Chelsea’s new owners haven’t had much time to get to grips with the intricacies of English football since completing their takeover of the club for 4.25 billion pounds.

However, the situation is far from catastrophic. Chelsea didn’t leave. Recruitment overseen by Todd Boehly, the club’s new co-owner and interim sporting director, has been encouraging and there are no signs that Chelsea are limiting their spending. Raheem Sterling, who should make Thomas Tuchel’s attack much more incisive, is a solid buy and Kalidou Koulibably is an important defensive signing following the departures of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen.

Against this background, the picture does not look too bad. Tuchel still has a talented squad and Ben Chilwell’s return from a long-term injury is a major boost. A left-back from Sterling and Chilwell? It looks quite tasty.

However, it’s doubtful the team is strong enough to close the gap on Liverpool and City. Tuchel has problems in central midfield – N’Golo Kanté can’t stay fit and Jorginho lacks mobility – and Chelsea may lack reliable goalscorers. Kai Havertz, who should continue as a false nine, needs to become reliable. There can’t be too much of a burden on Mason Mount and Sterling. If there is then qualification for the Champions League and races in the cups may be enough.