TEAM PREVIEW: Chelsea – Paul Canoville says team have to keep improving

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Last but not least, the champions of England. Jose Mourinho’s men coasted to the Premier League title with little drama. A lack of injuries ensured Chelsea’s team was remarkably similar week in, week out and the additions of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas proved to be the missing links. Now, whilst others around them strengthen, they’ll come under greater threat this season.

Last Season: Premier League (1st)

Manager: Jose Mourinho



GKs: Asmir Begovic, Thibaut Courtois, Jamal Blackman
DFs: Branislav Ivanovic, Kurt Zouma, Nathan Ake, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ola Aina
MFs: Cesc Fabregas, Ramires, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Juan Cuadrado, John Obi Mikel, Bertrand Traore, Victor Moses, Nemanja Matic, Willian, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek
FWs: Radamel Falcao, Loic Remy, Diego Costa



In: Nathan (Atletico Paranaense), Asmir Begovic (Stoke City), Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco – Loan), Danilo Pantic (Partizan Belgrade)

Out: Thorgan Hazard (Gladbach), Gael Kakuta (Sevilla), Petr Cech (Arsenal), Josh McEachran (Brentford), Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Christian Atsu (Bournemouth – Loan), Lewis Baker (Vitesse – Loan), Mario Pasalic (AS Monaco – Loan), Andreas Christensen (Sunderland – Loan), Isaiah Brown (Vitesse – Loan), Nathan (Vitesse – Loan), Marco van Ginkel (Stoke City – Loan), Victorien Angban (Sint-Truiden – Loan), Tomas Kalas (Middlesbrough – Loan), Jordan Houghton (Gillingham – Loan), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough), Patrick Bamford (Crystal Palace – Loan), Wallace (Carpi – Loan), Danilo Pantic (Vitesse – Loan), Dominic Solanke (Vitesse – Loan), Todd Kane (NEC – Loan), Mohamed Salah (AS Roma – Loan)


First Six: Swansea City (H), Manchester City (A), West Brom (A), Crystal Palace (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H)

Likely Lineup: (4-2-3-1) Courtois – Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta – Fabregas, Matic – Willian, Oscar, Hazard – Remy


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A word from…Paul Canoville

On his time at Chelsea To be honest with you I was unaware about the history of Chelsea. As a kid, I just wanted to be a professional and it was a case of proving to a lot of people who had doubted me that I could do that. I wasn’t too good at school bar my sports and that gave me the strength to carry on in life, I wasn’t thinking of history and things like that at Chelsea.

I’d signed, I was a professional footballer and that was incredible. My debut was a day I’ll never forget it, I remember it well and it wasn’t a confident booster at all and that kind of thing went on for two and a half years. If we’d got relegated the club would have folded, we couldn’t afford that. The manager brought in certain players and filled gaps right away, we all gelled immediately and beat Derby 5-0 with Kerry Dixon up front, it just clicked. That was all thanks to the late John Neal.

On the changes at the club Getting promotion when I was there was a catalyst for what has happened now, like I said, the club almost folded. The whole club has changed, obviously, I still support Chelsea and I still follow them and that will never change.

On improving You never have the best players, you always have to improve. They’ve kept hold of their players but they’ve got to do it again this year. Chelsea and Mourinho are very good at putting a team together, that’s why Mourinho is there, we’ve got to look at the future with maybe the likes of John Terry having one good year left.

Hazard, Fabregas etc were all excellent last season but playing all those games plus the World Cup would have takena lot out of them so hopefully with a full pre-season at Chelsea those players will be even better this season. A few additions would come in handy but I’m really looking forward to the new season.

I like the young lad John Stones, so why not? It’s up to him if he wants to advance and win trophies, no disrespect to Everton but if he wants to win trophies, come to Chelsea.

Falcao has come in but is he ready? If he scores goals it’ll turn out to be a good signing!


The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Chelsea might retain their title on process of elimination. Arsenal still lack a deadly striker and a new defender whilst Manchester United once again have new players to bed in. If Chelsea can keep grinding out results, they might just make it two in a row.

Key Player: Diego Costa – Whilst Hazard stole the show last season, it was plain to see last season and last Sunday how much Chelsea change as a team without Costa up front. If he’s fit, Chelsea will have a great chance of retaining their title. If his injuries don’t clear up, a rival could easily skip past them.

One to Watch: Bertrand Traore – With no real new signings in the first team this season, the returning Traore may be one to watch. Given the No.14 shirt and seemingly one of few youngsters not being loaned out, the tricky attacker may get a few chances to impress.


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