Who Will Be the Dark Horse in The Upcoming Season for Chelsea?
Chelsea is definitely a stacked club that stands above thousands of other clubs in terms of financial value. Forbes ranks this team as the #7 most valuable football team in the world. With each position on their starting roster occupied by a world class player, Chelsea does not really need any dark horses. However, this team has a couple of interesting players that may have a huge impact on the games in the upcoming season.
While some footballers are experienced veterans and are already familiar with both their teammates and Antonio Conte, some new acquisitions and returning back to form veterans are still more than capable of surprising us. Barclay’s Premiere League is more than just packed with amazing players, it is as competitive as ever and having several cards under one’s sleeve is a good insurance. Some football games in the upcoming season will be decided by individual performances.
This is why everyone in the world pointed fingers at Ibrahimovich and his decision to join Manchester United. This player is notorious for winning domestic leagues. He is a world class champion, some say the one and only. No wonder, other clubs started to feel a bit anxious about king’s arrival. However, Ibrahimovich is just another world-class player amongst equally skilled stars. This means that other capable talented footballers will outshine him regularly. Some players will suddenly start performing and may become trump cards for other teams.
Let’s talk about Chelsea and players on their roster who may make a difference in some key games.
Ola Aina – the hope’s dawn.
Branislav Ivanovic is one of the key Chelsea Players whose ability to control the right side of the field is a beautiful talent. Chelsea relies heavily on his defensive capabilities and without him defense feels less confident in making decisive plays. Sadly, Branislav received a heavy injury. Dislocated shoulder took him out of action for a long time and Chelsea had to search for alternatives in a hurry. While right backs are not the most seldom specialization amongst professional footballers, Antonio Conte was in a rush and had to make his pick as quickly as possible. Eventually, Conte chose young Ola Aina.
This is a fresh alumnae of Chelsea football school. He joined Chelsea 8 years ago at the age of 11. Today, he is 19 and has already played in 4 friendly matches with Chelsea’s professional squad. When he was 16, he played against Fulham. The match ended with a spectacular score 7-6 favoring Chelsea youth team. Ola Aina played a pivotal part in that match. Undoubtedly, he only improved since his first successful matches. He is a very skilled and physically developed young player. He has unmatched endurance and shows impressive speed that he can maintain for a long time.
While his physical condition still needs polishing and he will not appear as often as his fans would expect, he is a great addition to the team. A fresh player that can show up big due to his eagerness and ambitions. He is a definition of a card under a sleeve. A player that can step on the grass of the field and start surprising his opponents with high speed and decisive movements.
His youth and underdeveloped physique are problematic, but in a couple of years he will mature even more and will become a force to reckon with. Right now, he is useful as a substitute and as a temporary replacement for Branislav Ivanovic. However, this may change. Young players tend to have explosive nature and this is a good thing for Chelsea with its established style and Antonio Conte leading them. Sometimes, loosing youth free is a good tactical move. Even when Ivanovic returns, there will be enough strategical space to use Ola Aina.
Another important thing to note is that Aina is eager to prove himself. He was called for both U20 and U21 national teams, but was not featured in any games. He is also a player with big ambitions and will want to show that he can compete against the best in the Premiere League.
Keep an eye on this young talent and especially his excellent pace and great acceleration. He will be a big problem for many teams providing solid defense and starting explosive counter-attacks with his unmatched speed. Hopefully, he will avoid simple mistakes and will take care of his amateur anxiety when facing the likes of Ibrahimovich.
David Luiz – stronger than ever!
After spending two seasons in Paris Saint-Germain, David Luiz returns to Chelsea. Before we start talking about his future and possible applications, we need to take a swift glance at his previous performances for the team. Chelsea picked him up in 2011 and he immediately made an impact. Luiz has been a versatile defensive player for as long as he played football. While his best position is central defender, he can easily adapt to playing as a defensive midfielder and take part in offensive affairs.
Naturally, Luiz quickly became a staple player for the team often taking on his shoulder the full weight of midfield trying his best to start counter-attacks and managing his defense. He managed to score 6 times during his 81 appearances over the course of 3 seasons. His accomplishments include multiple Barclays man of the match awards and individual league awards.
Some say that he had tense relationships with some of his teammates including Branislav Ivanovic who is the cornerstone of Chelsea’s defense. While Luiz is a highly skilled and incredibly technical player, he is often criticized for unstable character and undisciplined defense. No one would argue that Luiz made quite a couple of questionable plays and hurt some opponents. He is also a tough player to coach and Antonio Conte did not put this player on top of his priority lists. However, other options were either unavailable or even less desirable.
David Luiz is a very unpredictable player. His ability to quickly switch from slowly pacing amongst the defenders to explosively running towards the enemy net is certainly a nice talent to have on the field at any given moment of time. David used to be a decisive factor in multiple Chelsea’s triumphs. Paris Saint-Germain was reluctant to release him, but David Luiz himself wanted to get back to Chelsea where he made some of his best career plays.
Now, David Luiz is here. This is a very nice addition to the team that makes its tactical shape way more flexible. There are multiple stylistic identities that Chelsea may start to employ with David Luiz roaming somewhere in the midfield closer to the backlines. With his unpredictable style and ability to make plays, David will cause some big problems for opposing teams. Many coaches in the Premiere League now will start cracking their heads over the menace presented by Luiz.
To top that all off, Luiz is an experienced veteran with more than 10 years of professional career behind his back. It is hard to push him off balance. He will definitely perform well and create a lot of chaos in the midfield. Solidifying its backline is the biggest priority of Chelsea at the moment. Luiz is the right man for the job. While many expect this player to show up and start making plays, we must also remember that he is highly versatile and can perform at different positions. This is why we believe that he is a dark horse.
His appearances will most likely be impactful and his sudden moves across the field may disrupt the enemy lines heavily enough for Chelsea’s strikers to take advantage of. Hopefully, he will make difference in the upcoming season.
Michy Batshuayi – the next star on the list.
With Diego Costa getting older, Chelsea needs to search for an eventual replacement. This player must be a good one, obviously, and have a potential worth investing in. Seemingly, Chelsea found just the guy they needed by acquiring Michy Batshuayi. This Congolese player is very young and more than capable of scoring beautiful goals against the best in the world. While his performances were not that impressive when he was a teenager, as a 22-year-old professional player he shows great potential and can possibly replace Diego Costa at some point in future.
No one will argue that Diego Costa is a pivotal part of Chelsea’s offence. He is a rock-solid striker who knows how to shoot in order to put the ball in the enemy net. His perfect game sense coupled with artful technique make him a very dangerous opponent. However, he is getting older and Chelsea needs to keep a fresh man behind his back. Chelsea’s bench is stacked with talent, but another great striker is by no means a bad pickup. The team simply need another solid scorer who will replace Costa in case fatigue makes him less impactful.
Michy is not the tallest footballer. He is only 5’11 and his strength is not in physical superiority when it comes to fighting for the ball in close quarters. Michy is a very technical and speedy footballer blessed with incredible dynamism and versatility. This player can adapt to multiple tactical layouts and fit in nearly any scheme. Another great thing about him is that he can easily act as a sole striker allowing his team to focus on midfield and defense. This is something that Antonio Conte loves about strikers.
Definitely, Michy Batshuayi is a great acquisition from a strategical point of view. He makes Chelsea more versatile and opens up tactical opportunities that were not available to the team when Costa was a solo. Now he has a good back up. At the same time, Michy Batshuayi has incredible skill to make individual plays. This is something that Chelsea drastically needs in order to make their pounce at the championship title. While Antonio Conte is definitely a great mastermind, he needs capable players that can carry games on their own when tactics alone can’t do the trick.
With so much attention being on Diego Costa, some opposing coaches may simply forget about quick Michy. Unprepared for his swift technique and speed, Chelsea’s opponents may concede unexpected goals and start questioning their defensive capabilities. This is a scenario that may happen often over the course of the next season. In order to mess up with opposing coaches, Conte may even opt to start games with Michy on the field. Swapping in and out his strikers may disorient enemies.
We totally believe that Michy is a dark horse for Chelsea. He is young and capable of evolving his playstyle. He is resultative. He managed to score 26 goals during his 62 appearances for Marseille. He already scored for Chelsea once while appearing on the field only 5 times. This is definitely a great forward that make games explosive and interesting. If you want to see some beautiful technical football, we highly recommend you to keep an eye on Michy. When this player gets accustomed with Chelsea’s style and strategy, he will start surprising everyone.
Chelsea has a number of very good players that can make a difference. With their lineup stacked with world-class players like Diego Costa, John Terry, and Branislav Ivanovc, other players also deserve close attention. While Michy Batshuayi and Ola Aina both looking like promising additions to the roster, there are other names that need mentioning. For example, N’Golo Kante. This young midfielder is a new acquisition that can make an impact in some games. He is a reliable player from Leicester and we expect him to do well.
However, we still believe that the darkest horses are the ones we mentioned above. We still do not know how well David Luiz will perform over the course of the season knowing that he is, usually, a slow starter. We want Ola Aina to surprise us with his speed and solid defensive plays, and we want to see how many goals Michy Batshuayi will score. These three players are big question marks that will either bring Chelsea the title or fade out slowly closer to the end of the upcoming season.