Chelsea Season Preview for 2019/20 With Odds and Predictions
By Elias Wagner Published on June 18, 2019
Chelsea had a somewhat conflicting season in 2018/19.
The new manager Sarri has not been able to successfully implement his tactical ideas, and the “Sarri ball” we were used to seeing at Napoli is still some way off from transferring to Stamford Bridge.
Furthermore, the club faces some struggles off the pitch and will have to plan life after some high-profile departures in the summer. Both the manager and Eden Hazard are gone now.
It’s interesting to see how the club reacts to the situation. I will share my opinion on the matter.
But before that, I will take a look at what worked and what didn’t during the last campaign and check some of the odds the best soccer betting sites are offering for the 2019/20 season.
Chelsea 2018-2019 Season Review
On paper, winning the Europa League and finishing in the top 4 should be considered a good season for the Blues. After all, they did install a new manager, blooded some of their youth prospects, and had to integrate a couple of key new players as well.
We all know that patience is not the club owner’s most treasured virtue, so it’s no surprise that the Italian is gone. Sarri did have an offer for Juventus and Chelsea wasn’t exactly keen on keeping him, so that was the logical end of this relationship.
The big reason for his struggles was not the final position in the Premier League or in any other tournament but the fact that the manager hasn’t really convinced the fans he is the tactical genius the Italian press мейд him out to be.
On top of that, it does seem like some of the players did not respond to his ideas well, and this led to some bizarre situations during the course of the season. For me, the most damaging decision for Chelsea has been the change of position for N’Golo Kante.
The Frenchman had won back-to-back Premier League titles and the Soccer World Cup doing what he does best — being an enforcer just ahead of the defense and marshaling the midfield with his tough-tackling style.
This is what the player is all about, and because he is the best at it since the days of Makelele, managers have to be really sure that a change of position will benefit his game and the team.
Mind you, this is not just a guy who’s won trophies because he plays for top teams. He won his first title with Leicester City and was named the PFA Player of the Year the following season. Instead of using him as any other manager does, Sarri decided to bring in Jorginho for this role and move Kante further up the pitch.
Although Jorginho knows his manager well and they have a good connection, it was overall one of the bad decisions. The player was the league leader in completed passes, but he finished the season with zero assists. I can’t stress enough how scandalous this is for the key playmaker of a top English club.
On top of that, he only scored two goals, one of which was from the penalty spot. My point is that if managers will be tampering with a player like Kante, they should ensure they do it to make way for someone like Frank Lampard, not Jorginho.
Another thing Sarri was criticized about was his obvious substitutions, especially in the midfield area. This is most evident by the constant rotation between Kovacic and Barkley at the same exact time during crunch games. It was another factor that led most fans to believe that the manager is not tactically flexible.
The team struggled for goals, and the acquisition of Gonzalo Higuain didn’t help them much on that front. Olivier Giroud was only used sporadically despite the fact that he looked like a good offensive partner for Eden Hazard.
Towards the end of the season, Giroud did get more minutes and showed his worth to the team with a masterful performance in the Europa League final. He scored a typical headed goal and provided an assist in the 4-1 rout against Arsenal. Having a striker of that mold can be invaluable in these tight games, and I expect that the Frenchman will be used more frequently next term, after signing a new contract.
However, possibly the biggest problem in the long run was the manager’s total inability to control his younger players. Goalkeeper Kepa was bought for a world-record sum, and he did prove a reliable keeper, but his refusal to be substituted in the Carabao Cup Final was a farce.
I’ve never seen anything like this, and for me, it is not something that would have happened if Kepa was feeling confident in his manager. Nevertheless, I don’t want to excuse him, as encouraging such behavior will lead to dangerous precedents in the future, but it was telling of what the attitude in the dressing room is.
2018/2019 also saw two bright academy talents getting some minutes in the Premiership, although they would both have hoped for far bigger involvement. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are possibly the most talented graduates Chelsea has had in the past few years, but Sarri was again a bit blunt in handling their demands.
I personally think that with all the stagnation in the team’s midfield, both could’ve played more as it was evident that they carried a spark which players like Jorginho, Kovacic, and Barkley couldn’t replicate. It remains to be seen what will happen to both of them, but with Sarri gone, they should have more minutes next year.
Needless to say, with all the struggles in the different departments, something had to give in order for Chelsea to reach the top 4 and claim the Europa League. And although there were some encouraging signs from the defensive unit in important games, it was Eden Hazard who led the team to a satisfactory finish of the season.
The Belgian had a direct хэнд in 31 of his team’s 63 Premier League goals, scoring 16 and providing 15 assists. A lot of players had elite stats this year, but for me, no one was as impressive as Hazard.
We can point to Sterling, Aguero, Salah, and Mane, but they play in better teams and already have established chemistry with their offensive teammates. Hazard had to play under a new manager again and three different striking partners, not to mention the fact that the midfield started operating very differently under Sarri.
Taking all of this into account, I don’t see anyone out there who мейд a more significant individual contribution to their team in such circumstances. The problem is that this was Hazard’s last season at Stamford Bridge.
What Should Chelsea Do in the Summer?
First and foremost, they have to decide who will replace Maurizio Sarri for the upcoming season. The club has reportedly been hit with a transfer ban, so they won’t be able to sign any players in the next two years.
With Hazard gone, now might be the time to give a young manager like club legend Frank Lampard a chance.
He will have to use Callum Hudson-Odoi more frequently, which may not be a bad thing overall. Yes, the kid is nowhere near Hazard’s level but has had some bright performances, and I believe the potential is there for him to become a top player. The same goes for Ruben Loftus-Cheek. It is no surprise that Southgate is weighing them both up for his England squad.
If the new manager finds a way to clear the air and give them a bigger role next term, the ban can prove to be a blessing in the disguise for the club in the long run. Almost no player will immediately start producing Eden Hazard level numbers, so it might be time for the club to turn to youth and give their biggest talents a go.
Looking at the defense, there shouldn’t be too much to work out there. Kepa is a competent keeper who is only going to get better. Azpilicueta is one of the most reliable defenders in the league, and Marcos Alonso is equally adept in going forward and marking his man at the back. With Cahill leaving, Rudiger and David Luiz will be the two main center backs.
They are not even close to being a title-winning partnership but have proven that they can be solid and play out from the back as their manager wants them to. I actually think that this is one of the departments which Chelsea can improve under a new manager.
The downside is that although these four can make for a pretty decent backline, there isn’t too much quality on the bench. Andreas Christensen is the most obvious fifth man, but I am curious to see whether the manager will call upon Ethan Ampadu if any injuries strike.
Ampadu is only 18 but already has six games with the senior Wales national team. He has been hyped up since the Jose Mourinho days at Stamford Bridge, and I for one would love for him to get a chance to impress. Given that Chelsea won’t be signing any new players, recalling most of the ones they ship out on loan each year makes sense, and Ampadu should be one of the first names on that list.
It will be interesting to see whether the new man at the helm will make any major shifts in his midfield. The Jorginho experiment failed spectacularly, and fans will be pressuring whoever picks up the squad to return Kante to his original role which won him so much acclaim.
But if I have to give a straight answer to what I think they should do this summer, I’ll say their best bet is to give youth a chance and appoint someone like Lampard or another young manager.
In any case, it will be a very interesting summer for the Blues and one that may see an end of an era and push the club in a slightly different direction. It could prove very risky, and it is definitely not in Abramovic’s style, but the circumstances around the managerial position and the current squad may convince him otherwise.
Chelsea Betting Odds for 2019-2020
After last season’s recap and what may follow for the club, let’s look at some of the odds to see if there is good betting value in there.
Chelsea to Win the Premier League21.00
It may seem surprising that a team that has won two titles in recent years is given such high odds, but there is a very good reason for that. Manchester City and Liverpool were a cut above the rest last year, and I expect the other teams won’t be able to challenge them effectively next season as well.
Additionally, Chelsea lost their best player and is unable to sign new ones, so the odds make sense here. It might not sit well with fans of the Blues, but their team will need a miracle in order to challenge for the title, and my recommendation is to stay away from this market.
Chelsea to Reach Top 42.00
This one is way more realistic, but again, it’s risky, and I wouldn’t go for it at 2.00. Chelsea reached the top 4 last year only because they relied on the efficiency of Hazard. Even if the defense will not change too much, they still need to figure out who will be scoring goals.
Giroud is a great target man, but without Hazard, he also loses an edge in his game. He can probably get to about 10-12 goals in the league, but I doubt it will be sufficient. It still remains to be seen whether Higuain will be in the squad. He is definitely past his prime but can get his team goals, especially at home against the weaker teams.
It also depends on what kind of challenge Arsenal and Manchester United will mount for the top 4. Given the fact that both teams will have available funds to strengthen their ranks, while Chelsea will have to rely on what they have, they will certainly have an advantage.
I expect Tottenham, City, and Liverpool will be the ones leading the charts again, so there’s only one top 4 place up for grabs, and with Hazard gone, I believe there is a big chance Chelsea might miss out on that. If the odds were higher, I might’ve picked them, but at 2.00, it’s not worth it in my view.
Chelsea to Win the FA Cup10.00
Now, this is something that I’m inclined to back the Blues on. The club has a big tradition in the tournament, and given the level of the competition at the top of the league, there might be some clubs that won’t assign big priority to the FA Cup.
Chelsea, on the other хэнд, will have a lot of promising young players in the squad next year, and the cup is the perfect stage to give them a chance. It’s still very early to predict something like this, of course, but the odds are a great value, and the Blues are always in the mix when it comes to the FA Cup.
Wrapping It Up
With Hazard and Sarri gone and a potential transfer ban, it will be very interesting to see how they will handle all this. For me, the obvious direction is promoting the talented youngsters who have staked a claim with their recent performances and will be fired up to impress the manager.
On the other хэнд, Abramovic has never been in such a situation, and it’s highly possible that the unfamiliar circumstances will force the management to make a few wrong turns. In any case, they will need to resolve both the direction they want to take and the managerial position quickly if they want to have a good pre-season and stay with the pack.
What do you think of Chelsea’s chances next season? Will the ban be a blessing in disguise, or will it cripple the club’s chances of competing with the top teams? I would love to read your thoughts on the matter, so don’t hesitate to leave some feedback in the comment section below.
Share ShareTweet Follow