- Expected formation: 3-4-3
- Expected line-up GW1: Courtois, Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Fàbregas, Kanté, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Morata
- Expected line-up for the season: Courtois, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kanté, Fàbregas/Bakayoko, Alonso; Pedro/Willian, Morata, Hazard (CM and RW likely to rotate throughout the season)
- Penalties: Hazard, Fàbregas, Willian
- Direct free kicks: Alonso, Willian, D. Luiz, Fàbregas
- Indirect free kicks: Fàbregas, Willian, Pedro, Hazard
- Corners: Fàbregas, Willian, Pedro, Hazard
- Opening fixtures: BUR (H), Tot (A), EVE (H), Lei (A), ARS (H), Sto (A), MCI (H), Cry (A), WAT (H), Bou (A)
Since the change in system to Conte’s favoured 3-man defence, Chelsea have been simply irresistible, romping home to the illustrious Premier League crown last season.
The change saw them become ruthless in both defence and attack. It came after the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal and saw them go on to win 13 Premier League games on the bounce, scoring 32 goals and conceding a miserly 4 goals which included 10 clean sheets – a huge statement of intention that served to boost their title credentials.
Hazard was back to his sparkling best, Costa was clinical, consistent and seemed generally calmer in himself and Alonso and Pedro were both chipping in with their fair share of goals. Not to mention the force that is Kanté in the middle, winning the ball back and driving them forward quickly – arguably the key in why this tactic worked so well, as they could turn defence into attack before the opposition had chance to get organised from their attack.
It had perfect balance and this meant from an FPL perspective, their assets were ripe for the picking, particularly Hazard, Costa and Alonso.
This year, especially from the off, we face a few difficulties. Hazard is unlikely to feature in the beginning, Pedro/Bakayoko are battling back to full fitness after small injuries and Morata isn’t completely match fit either and hasn’t made much impact in the pre-season games he’s been involved in. There’s also the fact that Chelsea appear to still be in the market for a new LWB, which casts doubt over last seasons wonder wing back Marcos Alonso. Add in a rather difficult start to the Premier League campaign, and you get a bit of headache.
Lets see if we can simplify it somewhat.
Players To Consider From The Off
A player we might not normally consider, but Hazard being injured for the start of the season presents a unique opportunity to gain some good attacking points from the Chelsea attack. He’s had a very good pre-season for Chelsea and looks sharp. With him also in with a shout to take some set-pieces, including a penalty potentially if Fabregas is off the pitch or just doesn’t feel like taking one, he could be a shrewd move for FPL managers in the beginning.
This leads me onto another player that looks very good for the start of the season; Cesc Fàbregas.
Also priced favourably at £7.0m, he looks like another good way to get some good attacking points for a cut-rate price. With Bakayoko struggling to be fit for the Community Shield after a small injury, Fàbregas should get the first few games at least and with the form displayed at the end of last season coupled with the majority of set-piece duties, he could be another shrewd move.
Fancy A Gamble?
Michy Batshuayi (£8.5m)
Another one who’s having a very good pre-season, scoring a brace against Arsenal and netting against FC Bayern, he, like Willian, could have a good chance of starting in GW1 v Burnley. The man that scored the title-winning goal for Chelsea has demonstrated an eye for goal with his form toward the end of last season and in pre-season so far. With Conte’s recent words regarding the fitness of Morata, I think it would be unfair to not give this man a shot and if he does get a chance, he could end up being a bargain:
“He has to improve his condition a lot to adapt quickly into our team. He is working well but it has been only five days. Today, he tried to do his best but for sure he has to improve.”
The Players To Consider For The Season
Eden Hazard (£10.5m)
The above image displays all you need to know about this man. With the 2015/16 season proving to be nothing more than an anomaly, Hazard returned to his best just falling 9 points shy of his all-time highest FPL total score. What you can see here, is just how consistent he is and that should tell you that he is worth every penny over the course of the whole season, so when this man returns from injury, he should always be a figure in your team at some stage. At times, breathtaking to watch. He is just simply too good to ignore.
Not convinced yet? Just watch his goal against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League again and make your plans to bring him in when he’s fit again.
Marcos Alonso (£7.0m)
The man that brought me a lot of joy last year would be worth every bit of that £7.0m price if he stays as nailed on, but he could be at threat. From an FPL perspective, he is pure gold however, there are clear defensive frailties in Alonso’s game that could cost him a sizeable portion of game time.
If Chelsea don’t manage to find a suitable player to add to their LWB roster, which they are light on, then Alonso is a player you should not be overlooking lightly. Even with their difficult start, Alonso’s attacking potential, which includes a very accurate direct free kick taking ability (scored 2, hit the woodwork 3 times and the top of the net in the 6 direct free kicks he had last season), should carry him through.
Alonso averaged 5.92 points a game last season and bettered all the Chelsea assets for value according to my ‘Player Value Comparison Spreadsheet‘.
Álvaro Morata (£10.0m)
I will defer to my good friends @FPLWILDCARDS and @FPLChef as together, they’ve put an interesting series (WILDCARDS-V-Chef) forward exploring the potential of players, from each of their perspectives like a boxing match. In this particular series, the Chef backs up Morata whilst Wildcards takes Lacazette.
From the off, it looks like a smart move to have one of Willian/Fàbregas at £7.0m and getting rid on either your WC, or using a FT or two. With the wealth of premium forward options at our disposal, finding the value in midfield could prove pivotal over the season. Saying that, beyond the first few games, there will most likely be rotation with regard to Willian and Fàbregas once Pedro/Hazard/Bakayoko are back and fully fit, so bear that in mind if you do go with one of these players.
Morata is a wait and see for me. Even without what Conte has said recently about his fitness, I still feel like he will need time to adapt to being the ‘main man’ at Chelsea and his new home/team/system. He’s never been the main man before and it’s a huge responsibility, especially at a big club like Chelsea. Yes he’s been at Real Madrid and Juventus, but at both these clubs he was mainly used from the bench.
If Chelsea sign a new LWB, then Alonso is a no-go, but if not, then he’s in my team. He’s a left sided midfielder that gets the clean sheet bonus who takes and can score direct free kicks – it’s a no brainer, even with that difficult start. Imagine he scores and gets a clean sheet against Burnley, there’s only one way his stock is gonna go. Plus it’s much easier to start with the premium priced player in each bracket and work down, than have a plan to bring in the more expensive player and waste FTs or take a hit to do so.
When Hazard is fit again, he’ll likely feature in our plans, so keep a slot open for him because once he gets match fit, he’s gonna be someone you’ll want unless that anomaly 2015/16 season performance by Chelsea, wasn’t actually an anomaly and it happens again – doubtful however.