Can Chelsea challenge?

When you look at the Premier League next season, it is hard to see who are clear title challengers. There are , you could argue, 7 or 8 top teams, but of these only about 3 will genuinely challenge for the prize that they all want.

Manchester City, as Champions, will expect to be up there, their city rivals likewise. Aside from them, it is hard to say who will be up there.

On the face of it, it should be a team from London; signings could prove key to who it is. If Arsenal can retain the services of talismanic Robin Van Persie then they could be up there, although the Gunners defence is not up there with top European back lines.

Chelsea are probably the most likely to prevent a Manchester monopoly of the top flight, the arrival of Eden Hazard will add flair to a defensively stable team; the potential arrivals of Hulk and Modric would see a Blues side full of attacking options. The golden boot winning form of Fernando Torres at Euro 2012 will have been much welcomed in West London as well.

The European Champions have also been linked with Internazionale right sided defender, Maicon, who would provide pace and stamina on the right of the Blues defence to match that of Ashley Cole on the other flank.

In Roberto Di Matteo, the West Londoner’s have a Champions League winning manager, but not somebody who has consistently managed at the top end of a top league. The onus will also be on him to oversee an exciting, yet defensively sound team; and that could be difficult given that no longer will the underdog tag linger with Chelsea as it did in the Europe’s Premier Cup competition last season.

If the Italian can combine an already solid defence with a skilful attacking unit, then it could be a good season in SW6, if not then he may well receive his P45.

Below is a video of the penalty shootout that won Chelsea the Champions League last season.