Premier League team guide: Chelsea in the spotlight
Champions League glory brought the curtain down on a turbulent but successful 2020-21 campaign for Chelsea.
And Thomas Tuchel’s rejuvenated Blues will genuinely believe they can challenge for the Premier League title this term.
Midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho will be key to their chances and the return of Romelu Lukaku should solve the problem of a shortage of goals.
Chelsea’s trophy cabinet has not housed the Premier League trophy since Antonio Conte led the club to success in 2016-17 — will this be the season it returns?
A poor festive period ultimately cost Frank Lampard his job in January.
Given he had led the Blues to a top-four finish and the FA Cup final in 2019-20 against the backdrop of a transfer ban, the decision to axe the club's all-time leading goalscorer did not sit well with the Stamford Bridge faithful.
After losing their second game of the season 2-0 to Liverpool, Lampard's men went on a 17-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
But five defeats in the next 10 games saw Roman Ambramovich bite the bullet and replace the club legend with Tuchel.
The German arrived with a weight of expectation on his shoulders but he let the results do the talking.
Although the Blues lost the FA Cup final to Leicester, Tuchel ensured a top-four finish and secured Chelsea's second Champions League success.
Chelsea have made just one major signing this summer — but it could not have been much bigger.
A club record £97.5million was handed to Inter Milan to securing Lukaku's return, seven years after the 28-year-old left Stamford Bridge.
During his time away, Lukaku developed into one of the most feared strikers in Europe during spells at Everton, Manchester United and Inter and will become Chelsea's main man in attack.
That looks likely to be Chelsea's only major business following last summer's spending spree, with Werner and Kai Havertz set to battle it out with Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech for the other attacking roles.
3-4-3: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz, Lukaku.
Tuchel is a big fan of 3-4-3 and has used that system in all but six matches since he took charge of the Blues.
The formation gives regular wing-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James the freedom to join the attack, safe in the knowledge they have a wealth of experience filling in behind them.
James, 21, ranked inside the top 40 Premier League players for final third passes completed in 2020-21 (15.55 per 90 minutes) and will be a crucial part of any success Chelsea achieve this season.
Star man: N’Golo Kante
Kante is the beating heart of this Chelsea team — there is not a single blade of grass he has not covered at the Bridge.
The Frenchman, 30, reads the game better than almost anybody and only three Premier League players bettered his 2.48 interceptions per 90 in 2020-21.
Despite his 5ft 5in frame, he is not afraid to throw his weight around, as highlighted by his appearance in the top 10 for tackles attempted with 3.31 per 90.
He is not known for contributing much in terms of goals and assists but you can be certain he will be a vital component of Tuchel's side once again this term.
Up-and-comer: Kai Havertz
Admittedly, Havertz is hardly an unknown quantity.
After all, the 22-year-old German international netted the winner against City to secure the biggest prize in European football and cost the Blues a staggering £62million last summer.
Following a difficult first season in England for the former Bayer Leverkusen attacker, which saw him notch nine goals in all competitions, it is not outrageous to say Havertz has the world very much at his feet.
Scoring such an important goal in the Champions League final will have sent his confidence through the roof and he will get a rapturous welcome when he takes to the pitch against Crystal Palace in Chelsea's league opener.
Although the Blues do not have the easiest of starts, with four of last season's top eight among their first six fixtures, Havertz could be set for a campaign to remember if he hits the ground running.
The boss: Thomas Tuchel
Replacing Lampard was always going to be a tough task but Tuchel, 47, has taken Chelsea to a new level since his appointment.
A 14-match unbeaten run is always a good way to kick things off and the German used the disappointment of losing the FA Cup final as motivation to pick up the Champions League trophy in Porto just two weeks later.
If Tuchel can successfully navigate his side through their tough start, Chelsea could well be on course for a sixth Premier League title.
All information correct as of 10am, August 13, 2021