BALTIMORE - JULY 24: Jon Obi Mikel #12 and Didier Drogba #11 of Chelsea FC share a laugh before the game against AC Milan at M & T Bank Stadium on July 24, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
Chelsea FC continue their preseason preparations as their first Premier League fixture against Burnley fast approaches. Here are three points to be taken from this summer.
1. The King has returned
Chelsea fans did a double-take this week when the club announced Didier Drogba was returning to the Blues. Drogba, hero of the 2012 Champions League Final, was always going to come back to Chelsea, but none expected him to play for the Blues again.
The 36-year-old Ivorian is not the same player he was in the prime of his career however. He won’t be running full speed for 90 minutes every week. His body physically cannot handle that kind of stress. He’s still capable of scoring fantastic goals and is dominant in the air though. Drogba has the potential to be an incredible super-sub that comes on with 20 minutes left in a close match. Not only will he give the team a dangerous scoring option, but Stamford Bridge will absolutely erupt every time he is introduced.
Drogba is a legend at the club and he will be such a positive force in the dressing room. Jose Mourinho did not bring Drogba back to London based off of sentiment, but the manager definitely thought about the intangibles he will bring. Drogba still has great ability as a player, but his biggest contribution will be as a mentor to the younger players.
2. Mourinho has the strikers he wants
Mourinho has lamented his lack of a strong striker contingent since he returned to Chelsea. Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba didn’t cut it last season. Torres is the only one of the trio that is still at Chelsea. Diego Costa joined his Spanish counterpart with a summer transfer from Atletico Madrid. (Via BBC) Costa scored 36 goals for the La Liga winners and has already scored his first Chelsea goal. Costa will push Torres for the starting position and has the ability to score fantastic goals from anywhere.
The addition of Drogba gives Mourinho three options that can all score great goals. Torres no longer has to have the responsibility of being the primary goalscorer and will hopefully be able to flourish with a strong trio of strikers in the squad.
3. Cech vs. Courtois will go down to the wire
There was great speculation that Petr Cech may leave London as his starting keeper job is uncertain. Belgian youngster Thibaut Courtois has returned to Chelsea after three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid. Cech was originally linked with a move to Spain or Italy before declaring he would stay at Chelsea.
That may be out of his hands however. Mourinho has hinted at an exit for the Czech international. (Via Mirror) The manager has heaped praise on Courtois and also mentioned that he would feel safe if the 41-year-old Mark Schwarzer was the second goalkeeping option for the upcoming season. Mourinho said that the Czech and Belgian will fight to the end however so everything is still up in the air.
Nothing is determined from preseason, but Chelsea fans should be excited for the upcoming season. The club made brilliant moves that Mourinho is raving about, and when Mourinho is happy the rest of the Premier League should be worried.
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