The Champions will have European football to contend with this season
What the bookies say?
Bookie prediction: 2nd
It looks like Antonio Conte’s men will have to settle for second-best next time around as the bookies have Man City as their favourites for the Premier League title. Not that this will deter the Italian who lead Chelsea to the title in his first season in charge despite being relative outsiders at the outset. They’re 1/3 to keep their place in the top four next season and qualify for the Champions League are the shortest odds of any English side, alongside Man City, for the competition itself at 14/1.
5/6 shots to win any domestic trophy this season, they’re also the same price not to and are as big as 4/1 to make a fast start to the new campaign with victories over Arsenal, Burnley and Spurs. The Blues were six points clear of nearest rivals Liverpool when Christmas came around last year and they can be backed at as big as 4/1 to repeat the trick this festive season.
How do punters think they will fare?
With little transfer activity to date, punters appear to be in a bit of a limbo when it comes to Chelsea. Although third favourites with the bookies, they are fifth choice with Oddschecker users when it comes to the title. Again they are low down on the list for punters when it comes to a top four finish, although than can be attributed to Huddersfield and Newcastle fans getting carried away! In Europe they are the fourth choice of the five English teams with both Manchester clubs and Liverpool ahead of them in popularity.
Chelsea fans won’t be deterred by these numbers having been underdogs throughout much of the early part of last season and with significant reinforcements expected in the transfer market before the start of the season, the London club may well grow in popularity as clock ticks down to kick-off.
Players to look out for?
Responsible for the PFA and Football Writers’ player of the year in the shape of N’Golo Kante, Chelsea players feature less prominently in next year’s market with Kante again their best hope at 33/1 with Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa both 40/1. In the young player market, only Michy Batshuayi is lurking towards the top of the betting with Ruben Loftus-Cheek (50/1) and Nathaniel Chalobah (66/1) outsiders although all three have been linked with moves away from the club this summer.
Having missed out on their reported number one target Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea fans will be hoping an alternative is found and quick. Rumours continue to circulate that Diego Costa has played his last game for the club and the Spanish striker is as short as 1/4 to make a return to former club Atletico Madrid. One possible replacement is Costa’s fellow Spaniard Alvaro Morata who until the signing of Lukaku, looked destined to move to Old Trafford. The Blues now appear to be pole position to sign the former Juve man with the bookies making them strong favourites. Other high profile names linked with a move include James Rodriguez, Robert Lewandowski and Isco. Perhaps the key piece of transfer business the club can do this summer his keep hold of the likes of Eden Hazard (1/20) and Cesc Fabregas (2/11) who were both instrumental in their success last season.