Happy Monday all, the Premier League is back this weekend after the shortest summer break ever, my Dream Team is looking good and Chelsea are going to win the League. No Monday blues over here.
Brighton are the first victims of the new Chelsea revolution but we have to wait until Monday evening to pick up the three points. Following that is the small matter of Liverpool at home.
If you haven’t already, get your Dream Team in shape here and come and challenge me in my mini-league! The pin is: SGCHAT19.
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Last season Frank Lampard had the unenviable task of naming his strongest first XI with so many options in midfield, two evenly matched strikers and a bunch of average centre-backs.
Our squad hasn’t got any smaller and it looks like Lamps will have his work cut out in finding some balance in the side.
Of all the summer signings I think Thiago Silva has to walk straight into the first team. A proven winner and experienced nouse at the back is exactly what we lacked last year.
The other centre back spot is up for grabs with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma all staking a claim. I would go for Zouma but there is an argument for all of them to get a game.
Ben Chilwell, like Silva, walks into the side with no issues and surely our captain Dave will start with Reece James breathing down his neck for the right back spot.
The front three of Christian Pulisic (if fit), Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech should all start with Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud set to miss out.
All eyes will be on the midfield three from there. For the sake of balance I see N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and newbie, Kai Havertz being the three we see. Mason Mount may well be the ultimate victim of our summer spending having played 98 games for Lampard at Chelsea and Derby.
The German may not start on Monday but I think that will be the starting team Lamps has in mind, I just can’t see Havertz and Mount playing together.
THE BUNDESLIGA’S LOSS IS OUR GAIN
The more I hear about Havertz, the more excited I get.
Considering he was more-or-less unheard of a few years ago, he is now one of the most spoken about talents in Europe at the moment.
The latest to cake on the praise was Germany manager, Joachim Lowe, who said after the Spain game: ‘Chelsea is a top club but the Bundesliga have lost a top talent.’
While I am still hesitant to get carried away, with the nightmares of Alvaro Morata still haunting me, it does feel like we have got our hands on an unbelievable talent.
German journalist Raphael Honigstein described him as: ‘The most mesmerising playmaker in the game’ while Didi Hamann says he is the one German player who stands out.
Not Leroy Sane, not Toni Kroos, not even Timo Werner…
He is slight in frame which could be an issue but so was David Silva, so is Bruno Fernandes and you wouldn’t exactly call Kevin de Bruyne ‘beefy’ so let’s not judge a book by it’s cover… or a midfielder by his biceps.
DREAM TEAM ADVICE
Right, for any of you who kept up to date with my Dream Team shenanigans last season you might be hasty in taking my advice. But bare with me.
I have spent sleepless nights wondering if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be on for another Golden Boot, hours on the train wondering if Silva is the man to fix our defence and have debated to myself if it’s worth having any Man United or Man City players in for the first week as neither side have a game.
And after two weeks of stress, deliberation and time spent at the drawing board, I have finally settled on my team for week one…
Kasper Schmeichel is between the sticks, I have a back three of Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Silva. My midfield is Chelsea heavy with; Pulisic, Ziyech and Havertz all playing alongside Adama Traore while the front three of Werner, Aubameyang and Harry Kane even smell of goals.
You have five transfer to use a month and I may well have to find room for Fernandes or De Bruyne after week one but for the time being it is pretty damn perfect.
Send me your teams and I can give you my honest verdict, but after my mediocre year last time out I wouldn’t blame you for ignoring my advice! Just make sure you don’t play with four defenders – a real rookie move that.
ARE WE PALACE IN DISGUISE?
*Deep sigh* Chelsea released their third kit this morning and our worst fears have become a reality.
The red and blue horror-show is apparently inspired by Ultramarine Air Max 180s – or a pair of Nike trainers to you and me.
Adidas weren’t without their occasional shocker but I do miss the three stripes on Chelsea’s kit after three years of uninspiring kits from Nike.
I can’t even remember the third kit from last season so fingers crossed we don’t have to look at it too much, it’s a real eyesore.
The Crystal Palace jokes are already being saved in Twitter drafts for our rival fans, it genuinely could be their new home shirt!
I won’t let it bug me too much as it’s only a shirt and it’s our third strip for the season ahead. The home kit has grown on me so the club may still be getting £80 off me… They’d struggle to get Stevie Wonder to spend a tenner on the third kit though.
PRESSURE ON FRANK
I am full of nothing but optimism for the season ahead but the devil on my other shoulder keeps on nagging away with the ‘what if’ questions.
I am Frank Lampard’s biggest admirer, you should all know that by now, but there is far more pressure on Super Frank this season after the summer spending.
Fourth place and a Cup final was a great result last season but the expectations from everyone at the club will be far higher this time round.
If we are in sixth or seventh around Christmas, how much more time would Lamps get to turn it around? I don’t expect that to be the case for one minute but the board will have a contingency plan in mind I’m sure.
I am backing us to finish second or first this year, behind Man City or just in front of them but if it’s anything less than fourth, this will be Lampard’s second and last season at the club.
Let’s not think too much about that though… sorry for the bitter ending.