PRE-SEASON: Chelsea Part 2

For Part 2 of our pre-season look at Chelsea we’ve been talking to Graham MacAree. Graham is the lead football editor at SB Nation and can be found on twitter here.
Hi Graham. Your transfer business has been fairly eye catching so far this summer. Which of your signings will have the most significant impact on your team this coming season?

I’d have to guess it’d be Diego Costa. Chelsea didn’t have a reliable goalscorer at all last season, and being able to trust that your frontman will not only be able to stick chances away but create them from nothing is a big change from last season. Costa’s the sort of striker who won’t score anything spectacular, but will work hard, annoy the defender and then score an ugly goal — which is just the sort of player we were dying for.

Costa Athletico

What’s more important for Chelsea in your eyes this season? The Premier League or the Champion’s League?

Having won the Champions League in 2012, it’s something of a secondary objective now. The Premier League rewards consistently excellent sides, and Chelsea a) haven’t finished in the top two since 2010/12 and b) have pretences towards being an excellent side, so I’d say it’s the most important competition on its own and the best marker of a team’s progress as well.

Chelsea are in the rare position of having two outstandingly good goalkeepers on their books. If it’s a dilemma, it’s a good one to have. Will Courtois be trusted or will Cech get another season as number one?

Jose Mourinho seems to be leaning towards Courtois at the moment, but it’s difficult to say which one he’ll end up choosing. They both had excellent seasons — perhaps Courtois’ was slightly better but Cech has the advantage of knowing the team and his defence.

Courtois

The most interesting question here is what will happen to the player who doesn’t win. Will they be sold, or will they be content to stick around as number two?

You beat us twice last year through a combination of Joe Hart and Mourinho’s superior tactics. What do you make of City this year? Surely doing the double again is too ambitious?

We’re almost certainly not beating City twice again. The win at Stamford Bridge was lucky, and although the Etihad match was excellent, it relied in large part on David Luiz in midfield, and he’s since been sold to Paris Saint-Germain.

David Luiz

Right now the squad looks slightly less capable of blocking off elite teams through the middle (for all his faults, David Luiz was excellent for that) and more able to pick up points against the minnows. So if Chelsea take six points off City next season, I’ll be stunned. But very happy.

Finally, which City player would you have in your first XI if you had the pick?

Yaya Toure’s the obvious one, so let’s go with that.

yaya knee slide

He’s brilliant almost everywhere on the pitch, and although he’s perhaps been neglecting his defensive duties a little of late, pairing him with Matic or letting him play behind the striker would be amazing. A physical presence who can control the game and score goals? Yes please. On the other hand I’d have to stop making jokes about cake.

The cake jokes will never end! Thanks a lot, Graham.

Interview by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter

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