Here's a question Chelsea fans, Is the top four a realistic expectation this season?

We find ourselves less than a week away from the start of the Premier League season and having watched Chelsea this pre-season under Fran...

We find ourselves less than a week away from the start of the Premier League season and having watched Chelsea this pre-season under Frank Lampard, I am asking YOU the Chelsea fan reading this post on whether or not you believe the top four to be a realistic expectation this season. I want to read as many opinions on this as possible!

First and foremost it's also important to add that we have a number of players who are working their way back from injury to be involved this season. Once they are fully fit and firing, Frank Lampard's options will be better in certain positions in addition to what we have already seen over the past few weeks. Toni Rudiger, N'Golo Kante, Willian, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi will all provide stiff competition for places with one or two nailed on starters for me. 

One thing is for sure, Chelsea will have one of the fittest squads in the Premier League as we know that Frank and Jody Morris have worked the players really hard in training with double sessions almost every single day. The good thing is that although acknowledging that it's tough, the players to a man have stated that it has been enjoyable so the initial signs are good. 

At the end of the day it's about quality of chances created and taken in addition to remaining tight and compact at the back. A solid base to build from is the key to having any form of success; we have to agree that so far it hasn't exactly been water-tight. It's pre-season, the manager has chopped and changes his defensive pairings throughout so I would not read too much into it and we should get a real feel for how capable we are in defensive areas in the first couple of weeks of the season with Manchester United away on Sunday, Liverpool in Istanbul next Wednesday, followed by Leicester City at home at the following weekend - our first home game with Frank in charge. 

The midfield options we have available once everyone is fit is up there with the best in the League in my view. With N'Golo Kante back to his favoured position, patrolling that key area in front of our back four, we should have a solid base to build on. We should not be conceding some of the goals we did last season with Jorginho asked to fill that role without the ball. 

Moving forward through central midfield and into the advance midfield areas we have players with undoubted quality in Ross Barkley, Loftus-Cheek and now Mason Mount. Mateo Kovacic will come to the fore under Frank Lampard and Jorginho asked to influence the game further forward. 

In the wide areas although we have lost one of the world's best, Christian Pulisic has already shown that he offers us something different = PACE and no matter who you face in the Premier League, the opposition will always struggle to deal with that. Add his already outstanding ability fighting for a position up against the likes of Willian, Pedro and Hudson-Odoi you surely have to be encouraged. 

Up front is where our biggest problem lies. Not since Diego Costa have we had that regular threat week-in, week-out in front of goal that give defenders something to think about. Last season it was about stopping the supply against Chelsea to make the strikers virtually redundant. This year we hope to be so much different with the young and hungry Tammy Abraham looking to make his mark in the big league. Olivier Giroud who has once again shown glimpses of what he brings to the team as a whole with him playing in it, followed by the Batman - Michy Batshuayi who has nothing to prove in the Premier League but now is surely worth a chance in Chelsea blue. 

There will be games on paper we should be winning as there were last season. The biggest complaint from the supporters was that we were never flexible to change, we were tame in attack and dropped points that were unexpected. That's something that MUST improve this time around. 

There will be those games against sides fighting for a top six finish such as Everton and Wolves that caused us numerous problems last year. We need to match their desire in-game, we need to impose ourselves against these teams and come up with the right solutions to force them onto the back-foot. We need to knock them back down a peg-or-two to put ourselves right back where we need to be. 

Then there is the games against our top six rivals who, despite the teams just mentioned who invest heavily once again, remain the same - Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City. I personally believe that City and Liverpool will be too strong too soon for us this season and we would do well to take anything from either of the four games we play against them. As for the other three? We should be beating all of them at home and take at least a point away with anything above that an added bonus this year. 

I recorded a video on my Vlog to state that it really is a time to be excited as a Chelsea fan and I will stand by that. A young management team that has the club embedded into their DNA. A squad enriched with the outstanding ability we have of the likes of James, Mount, Hudson-Odoi and Abraham coupled with the strong and experienced players we still have here who let's not forget finished third, reached the League Cup Final and won the Europa League. 

Is it a realistic expectation for Chelsea under Frank Lampard to finish in the top four this season? I don't believe it is.


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