Chelsea 2012-13: A Tough Ask?
One of the keys to Chelsea's season will be whether or not Roberto Di Matteo can get Fernando Torres scoring goals from the off.
August 10th, 2012
Chelsea kick off the new season on Sunday: will 2012-13 be another year to remember, or will Roman Abramovich be wielding his axe again?
The FA Community Shield game against Manchester City is as tough a start as Chelsea could have asked for.
While clubs seldom take these games too seriously, Chelsea’s pre-season form has been lamentable; and only a complete turn-around can stop City from adding to their trophy cabinet.
One of the keys to Chelsea’s season will be whether or not Roberto Di Matteo can get Fernando Torres scoring goals from the off.
The opening league fixture at Wigan has, in the recent past, been a real proving ground for Blues forwards in need to a boost: with memorable and decisive goals there from Hernan Crespo and Arjen Robben.
Home games follow against Reading and Newcastle, and should Torres enter those games with confidence of his abilities, then he could quickly build the foundations for a strong season.
Of course, things could easily go the other way, in which case Chelsea are likely to be linked with some expensive goalscoring talent in the last week of August.
The trip to QPR after the September international break has every possibility of being as season-defining as last October’s game there: though hopefully this game will make headlines for the right reasons.
If momentum continues through this match, Chelsea could easily find themselves early season pace-setters.
But if a poor start does not pick-up at Loftus Road, Di Matteo may find Abramovich has a sudden interest in watching his training sessions.
The first major test against a top side comes with the end-of-September trip to Arsenal: by which time Chelsea will hope their young and creative midfield has settled enough to show their hosts what ‘sexy football’ really means.
I can’t recall a season where predictions about Chelsea were more difficult to make.
In terms of the league: I think whoever comes above Manchester City will be champions. I don’t think that will be Chelsea, who I am going to pencil-in as third.
I also don’t expect Chelsea to repeat their European feats of last season: no team has yet retained the Champions League, and I’m not expecting that to change for now.
I also think domestic cups may be tricky: the League Cup clashes disastrously with Blues trip to Japan and, I believe, is un-winnable for that reason.
Quite a few managers desperate to chalk-up a trophy on their CV will be chasing the FA Cup, and I’d expect it to end up with either Manchester United (who I doubt will win anything else), Tottenham or Liverpool.
So a trophy-less season for Chelsea? No.
I expect Blues to bring home both the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup – and be named the Champions of the World.
The big question is whether or not Abramovich will be satisfied with that.
Words by Dan Levene. Read the rest of his Footballscores.com Chelsea blog.