PREVIEW: Chelsea v West Brom - Time to shake off those cobwebs!

So here we go, after three long months since Chelsea won a historic double and regained the Premier League title we are back on the eve of...

May 10, 2010 - 05885304 date 09 05 2010 Copyright imago Color Sports Football Chelsea Celebrate Winning The Premiership Title for 2009 2010 by Beating Wigan Athletic AT Stamford Bridge ON 09 05 2010 Credit Color Sports Andy Robinson PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxPOLxUSAxONLY men Football tight Premier League 2009 2010 English Master Champion ceremony Championship Siegererhung Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd.

So here we go, after three long months since Chelsea won a historic double and regained the Premier League title we are back on the eve of what looks to be a fascinating season.

Teams have strengthened and spent more money than they know what to do with, the World Cup has come and gone, Chelsea's pre season has been a nightmare but the fact remains that we are here to defend our title and it all starts against newly promoted West Brom under the stewardship of our old favourite Bobby Di Matteo!.

Apr 29, 2010 - London, England, UK - Chelsea Premier League Champions 2009/2010.Team celebrates NICOLAS ANELKA 2nd goal makes it 4-0.

If we take our minds back to May 9th at Stamford Bridge, we had just hammered Wigan 8-0 knowing that we had just won the Premier League for our third time in six amazing seasons. We left the Bridge on a massive high and this was further enlightened by our FA Cup win against Pompey and we celebrated our first ever double for weeks after!. Who would have thought back then that we would be sitting here now a day before the season starts looking at a much different situation.

As we look to tomorrow's game we should be feeling confident about our season ahead of us. Confident in our squad and feeling that its capable of performing well in every single competition we take part in this season. You see, that's been a major part of Chelsea's success in the six seasons past. We have always had strong cover in all positions across the pitch, and we the fans knew if we lost someone through injury or suspensions we were ok as we had someone who could come and slip into their position without any problem.

At the moment I only see we have that in certain positions and are lacking in others. This is what is bothering me about our pre seasona and preparation for the beginning of our title defence. Don't get me wrong, our first eleven on paper is still one of the best sides in the Premier League, but to me its the backup we have that is a worry. I say this at the moment because we all know the transfer window closes at the end of this month.

Without doubt the new Premier League ruling of 25 registered players with a minimum of 8 home grown players has had an effect on transfer negotiations and some clubs are struggling to get players off their books before the deadline.

July 27, 2010 - Liverpool, United Kingdom - epa02262991 New Liverpool player Joe Cole enters the pitch to attend a photocall at the Anfield Road Stadium in Liverpool, north west Britain, 27 July 2010. Cole, along with Danny Wilson and Milan Jovanovic, were unveiled as Liverpool's new signings under newly appointed head coach Roy Hodgson.

We have seen players leave the club who have all made different contributions to Chelsea's recent success, some more than others and then there's Scott Sinclair who never really got his chance at the club. Just the other day Ricardo Carvalho left us, Joe Cole has moved to Liverpool, Michael Ballack has rejoined one of his older clubs, Deco has gone, Belletti also along with Scott Sinclair.

The only player of note that has come to the club is Yossi Benayoun who for me at the time didn't really do it for me. We are still waiting on the news of two of the Samba Boys and that's Ramires and Neymar. Apart from that we are being linked with plenty of other big names but nothing concrete has happened. So to me at the moment we lack depth and this could play and major part this season. I had written previously that we had no need to panic.

So looking at tomorrow's game and you have to say that our preparation, severely disrupted by the World Cup and players not returning to training until the 26th July, has been a nightmare and possibly the worst I can remember.

Aug. 08, 2010 - 06296155 date 08 08 2010 Copyright imago Chelsea s John Terry looks ON dejected AS They Go 3 1 Down community Shield Chelsea v Manchester United 8th August 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK London men Football England community Shield 2010 2011 Action shot Vdig xmk 2010 Square Highlight premiumd.

Since when do you see Chelsea go away at Pre Season and suffer 4 defeats in a row including losing to United last weekend in the community shield?. We looked tired and nowhere near our best. I know people will say, "Its only pre season!" but still, we shouldn't be losing four games in a row.

The absence of Petr Cech has had alot to do with our results so far and the sooner he comes back the better. We have been lucky in respect to the way the fixture computer churned out the fixtures and I mean no disrespect to the teams we will start the season against, but it could have been alot worse.

This week you will imagine Ancelotti and our coaches would have been working hard to improve each players level of fitness even considering the pointless International games. I just hope that tomorrow we are up and at it from the off against West Brom as they will look to come to Stamford Bridge like most teams do, and make it difficult.

Football - Milton Keynes Dons v Bristol Rovers Coca-Cola Football League One - Stadium MK - 13/4/09..MK Dons manager Roberto Di Matteo Photo via Newscom

Roberto Di Matteo has spoken of the task ahead for his team and the game tomorrow. He said:
"I will go back as West Brom manager and I will try my best to cause a little upset on the day, But I have to say Chelsea is in my heart and will always be in my heart because of the great times I had there.

I saw the statistics, We know that it is going to be hard. It is very difficult, especially for a club of our size, The gap between bottom clubs and the top clubs in the Premier League is massive, so we have to find our little niche and try to win our games."

Right now I would be happy to get a result to give us three points. Yes, I know this one should be a "home-banker" on paper but with Chelsea looking like they are short on fitness and West Brom closing down space and making Chelsea work hard to move the ball and create some space it could be a long drawn out affair. I really hope I have got this wrong but a big part of me expects a difficult game.

I believe the side that started against United will more or less be the same that takes to the field tomorrow. The only question mark against that is whether or not Ancelotti decides to stick with Kalou or select Drogba to start.

If we can get hold of the ball early and dominate possession then we can ease ourselves into the game. I am hoping that we stick with the 4-3-3 formation as we will need width tomorrow to break this lot down. I really hope we can get an early goal and open the game up.

So my prediction for tomorrow of course is a Chelsea win. Whether its a hard fought 1-0 or by two or three will depend on just how fit we are and how tight we are at the back. Right now I would happily take a 1-0 win!.

One thing is certain and thats the opinion that Chelsea will be Champions once again at the end of the season and Sir Alex believes that Chelsea are the team to beat.

Lets hope so. So here's to the new season, getting some players into the club, players fit again from Injury and three points tomorrow!.


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