The 2019/20 Premier League season begins on Friday. In the final part of our season preview, The Coaches’ Voice experts have predicted who will win the title, and the other three teams on course to qualify for the Champions League.
The biggest uncertainty surrounding Chelsea during the coming season surrounds who of Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi is likely to be their starting striker. Even if Abraham is the present first choice, none is ideally suited to the high-pressing attack Frank Lampard used at Derby.
Abraham’s movement across the back line may become useful to Lampard, particularly after Chelsea regain possession in their defensive half. His mobility in linking with wider runners is then complemented by a forward run in his attempts to become the classic penalty-box striker.
Giroud, by contrast, is most effective when pinning a defence back to create space for central runners, but he lacks the energy and pressing ability of Abraham, when Lampard is expected to prioritise fluid movements and rotations from his supporting midfielders. Batshuayi is the manager’s most versatile option because he can link with deeper movements, is a proven finisher and works hard during transitions. He is yet to establish himself at Chelsea, however, and at 25 it is starting to feel like time is running out.
The Blues’ approach to pre-season demonstrated Lampard’s desire to attack, but even before the sale of David Luiz to Arsenal there were concerns about his defence. To that end he has reorganised his team from Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-3 into a 4-2-3-1, providing further protection for his more cautious-looking central defence via the double pivot in midfield. N’Golo Kanté’s return to a more natural defensive role should prove vital to adding security and confidence during transitional moments; Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic are likely to compete to start alongside him.
Last season: 3rd