Five crucial fixtures that lie ahead for Chelsea

After winning the Premier League title in convincing fashion last season, many expected Chelsea to go on and defend their crown in a si...

After winning the Premier League title in convincing fashion last season, many expected Chelsea to go on and defend their crown in a similar manner this term. However, Jose Mourinho’s men have struggled in the early stages of the campaign but got their season back on track with a dominant 4-0 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening. Here are five crucial fixtures that lie ahead for the Blues.

Arsenal (19th September)

Chelsea host Arsene Wenger’s men on Saturday, knowing that a win would see them close the gap between the two sides to just three points. The Gunners have responded well after their 2-0 opening day defeat to West Ham United but this is their toughest test yet. While Mourinho’s side have been poor in the league so far, their Champions League thrashing in midweek may have helped boost their confidence ahead of Saturday’s colossal encounter.

CescFabregas could be the key man to watch in this clash and the former Arsenal man recently answered his critics by scoring and assisting during Chelsea’s midweek massacre of Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Newcastle (26th September)

The Blues will travel to Newcastle United later this month as they look to avenge last season’s 2-1 defeat to the Magpies. Steve McClaren’s side have struggled to get going this season and, while they look a tad more reliable in defence, they have failed to create clear goalscoring opportunities for their frontmen.

Chelsea will be wary of Newcastle’s threat and Mourinho may opt to stack the midfield and dominate possession. Nemanja Matic could be one of the influential players in this one and may play a key role in slowing the tempo of the game down.

Porto (29th September)

The Portuguese side are probably Chelsea’s main threat in the Champions League group stages and Mourinho will be looking to avoid defeat at the very least in this clash against his former team. The Blues could go four points clear at the top of Group G if results go their way, which would be a very promising position after just two matches.

Porto currently sit at the top of the Portuguese Primeira Liga table and will prove tough opponents but Chelsea are one ofthe leading contenders for Europe’s elite club competition this year and won’t be beaten easily.

West Ham (24th October)

There are no easy London derbies and an away trip to West Ham United is about as difficult as they get. Slaven Bilic’s side are playing some phenomenal football and have already secured victories over Arsenal and Liverpool this season. Chelsea will have to be at their very best if they are to secure all three points in this one.

Eden Hazard could be the man to unlock West Ham’s defensive unit. The Belgian winger has struggled to inspire at the start of the new campaign but is one of the most talented players in the world. By mid-October, he may have found his top form and then, he will be a danger every time he steps on the field.

Liverpool (31st October)

Brendan Rodgers’ side have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the Premier League this season but are always capable of providing a huge performance against the top flight’s biggest clubs. The Reds have a number of talented stars in their squad and could cause problems for Mourinho’s men.

By this stage, Chelsea will be in top gear and will fancy their chances of picking up all three points against Liverpool. Home advantage could be key and Diego Costa, who enjoyed matches against the Reds last season, could relish the prospect of facing Martin Skrtel once again.

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