SEASON PREVIEW: Major competition for the holding two!
You really get the impression that this season will be one that Frank Lampard will really, really...
You really get the impression that this season will be one that Frank Lampard will really, really enjoy. The pressure of expectation is still there but, he has now established himself as Chelsea's record goal scorer and in doing so, can relax, play and enjoy himself in his final year at the club.
All Frank was asked about last term was the record and his contract. Both questions have been answered and the return of Mourinho will add to Lampard's swansong at Stamford Bridge this term.
Just how involved will Lampard be is a question we would all be wondering at this stage. Knowing Frank the way we do, he will work just as hard, if not harder than most to ensure he does all he can to play his part this term.
It's my view that if he remains fit and his knees hold up, Michael Essien WILL BE the nailed on starter for Chelsea as one of the holding/deeper two midfielders this season.
Questions had been asked of his fitness after his struggles with knee problems that had dogged his time at the club over a period of two to three seasons. So, as we know, he was sent off to Madrid to link up with his "Daddy" Jose Mourinho and never looked back. Essien played more in La Liga than he had done for Chelsea in a long, long time.
He looks the part again, he looks as he always has, strong and powerful and is showing signs of being that driving force in midfield again. The "Bison" is back and as I said, if he remains fit, he will start more often than not.
Marco Van Ginkel has really impressed me this pre season. For someone so young, he plays with a level of maturity that will see him settle into the Premier League without problem.
His ability is obvious and his signing is a real coup for Chelsea.
Not afraid to tackle, to sit deep, get forward, pick a pass or give it simple, Van Ginkel could really flourish working with Mourinho.
As we have heard him say, he has been promised first team action this season so it would be interesting to see just how much he is involved.
He is definitely one for the future but has everything about him to really push for a start this term.
As with John Terry, Mikel was a casualty of the Rafa Benitez era at Chelsea and it will be interesting to see what happens with him this season. As I have already said, the return of Michael Essien is massive and will give Mourinho a selection headache.
There are rumours and reports that Mikel is being linked with a move away from Chelsea and if we look at the two deeper positions with Jose's two for each position, five into four doesn't fit. Mikel could become the casualty.
I still believe that Mikel is one of the best without the ball at his feet in that position but as football moves on and the position requires a more dynamic player in that position, Mikel has been left behind by the likes of Ramires.
It's a shame but I see Mikel leaving.
Ramires just gets better and better doesn't he!
If you ask any Chelsea fan to name five players who have been the most consistent throughout the last two seasons, Ramires would be one of the first people you would think of.
Unrivalled stamina, a midfield engine that just keeps working and with pace to burn, Ramires is the modern midfielder and is someone that is perfect for Mourinho's Chelsea.
His first touch has improved drastically, his use of the ball gets better and better and the fact that he also has an eye for a goal with provide Jose with plenty of options.
We all know just how good a man manager Jose is. Imagine what he could do with Ramires this season!. Next to Essien, Ramires for me is a nailed on starter this season.
Carefree & KTBFFH!