New-look Chelsea are starting to find their groove

Chelsea: Mason Mount goal

In recent times many have questioned the relationship between Roman Abramovich and his West London toy and with reports that the Russian oligarch was considering selling Chelsea being printed with greater regularity, rival fans were ready to proclaim the end of the Blues largesse living.

However, it seems the love affair between Abramovich and the 2012 Champions League winners has been reignited over the course of the summer and with the 54-year-old overseeing a huge amount of transfer spend in the most recent off-season, a warning shot was fired to the Premier League.

With UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations being loosened for the season, Chelsea’s owner obviously sensed an opportunity to pounce and after previously approving the capture of Hakim Ziyech in the middle of last season, a flurry of activity was soon to follow.

Activity that has come in part, by the arrival of German pair Timo Werner and Kai Havertz and although the latter has not quite hit the ground running in terms of performance, the same cannot be said for the Blues’ new marksmen.

Werner was coveted by a number of Premier League clubs and the fact that Chelsea beat the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United to his signature, meant his capture was nothing more than a statement of intent from a team that finished in the top four last season.

Their 4th place finish in 2019/20 subsequently meant a return to the Champions League this season and although conquering Europe will be on the agenda, it is domestic dominance that is arguably Chelsea’s most realistic target.

A target that at the very start of the campaign, looked as if it was going to be nothing more than wishful thinking and although defeat at home to Liverpool could be considered as nothing untoward, it was dropped points elsewhere that provided a more pertinent issue.

An issue that had a root cause in the defensive third of Chelsea’s starting eleven and none more so, than the continual woe that was connected to the rather hapless performances of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

For someone who is the most expensive shot stopper in the world today, his showings at the end of the last season and the beginning of this, were far from matching the price tag that was required to bring him over from Athletic Bilbao.

Which meant for all the outfield talent that Chelsea have recently procured, the team could not freely function and the only way to solve such a problem, was to source additional goalkeeping personnel.

Step forward Eduoard Mendy and it is amazing what can happen to players when they know that they have a confident ‘keeper behind them, as since his arrival the West Londoners have become a far more solid unit.

To the point, where it seems as if their early season kinks have now been ironed out and with the club currently seven games unbeaten at the time of writing, discussion has shifted to whether they can mount a genuine title tilt.

A look at the current Premier League odds suggests that glory in 2021 may just elude them, as Frank Lampard’s men are priced as 5/1 third joint-favourites with Tottenham and although they are not tipped to rule the roost, they should be far from written off either.

With the Premier League already throwing up a number of surprises in the first quarter of this season, there is a sense that anything can happen and if any of the usual suspects can stay injury free, their chances of success will only increase.

While it is injuries that have been a thorn in the side of both Liverpool and Manchester City and although it is far too early to rule them out of proceedings, they certainly do not possess the same swashbuckling powers of 12 months ago.

Which means, Chelsea’s nearest rivals could also end up being their London neighbours and with Jose Mourinho looking to win the Premier League with Tottenham, it may well be his previous employers that end up producing the biggest roadblock of all.