After finishing third in the EPL during the 2021-22 season and picking up a couple of cups, the hopes were high that Chelsea could mount a serious title challenge this time. After the first 14 games, they sit in eighth place, 14 points behind Arsenal, but can they make a difference in the remaining games?
The Transfer Window Effect
Any deals carried out during the winter transfer window in January are likely to have a major effect on how the second half of the season turns out, and so far, Chelsea has been linked with several potential new faces. Among them are a few international players who participated in the World Cup in Qatar.
One of the things we always see after a World Cup is a string of the most impressive players in the tournament being linked with big-money moves.
The 2022 finals in Qatar haven’t proven to be an exception to this rule, and many of the stars who had good performances in the last few weeks are sure to make big-money moves at the start of 2023.
The huge pull of the EPL’s biggest teams means that we can expect to see some of the top players from Qatar arrive in England and potentially front some of the most legendary teams. However, it’s not only the World Cup that has a seismic influence on player transfers. An infographic compiled by ExpressVPN explores the main factors that drive sports streaming in the UK.
With data extracted from Google Trends, the infographic determines that events like the recent appearances of England’s female football team, the Lionesses led to a fluctuation in the popularity of the star players online.
Additionally, the infographic highlights that Chelsea is among the top five teams people search for, along with Manchester United, Manchester City, Spurs, and Liverpool.
Interestingly, Man Utd took over Liverpool at the top of this table briefly following a defeat, so it doesn’t always mean that their fans are looking. Still, the numbers suggest that Chelsea can compete with anyone in the transfer market.
Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol is one of the players recently strongly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. The RB Leipzig center-back, who wore a face mask during the tournament, is reported to have a release clause of €110 million (about £96 million), and Chelsea is believed to be one of many clubs potentially interested in activating this clause.
England star Declan Rice is another name that’s said to be on the list of possible transfer targets, according to TeamTalk. The West Ham captain has scored 11 games in 215 games for the Hammers, and both Chelsea and Liverpool are said to be looking at him. Expect a busy month in January, with most teams looking to strengthen during this window.
The Upcoming Games
After the break for the World Cup in Qatar, the domestic league restarts after Christmas, and Chelsea has a relatively kind run of fixtures before coming up against Manchester City and Liverpool during January.
This month will go a long way toward defining who the champions will be as we see which teams return to action in good form and with full squads to choose from.
The arrival of Graham Potter during the first half of the season helped improve results, and fans will be hoping that he has been in charge long enough to lead them on a long winning run. With seven teams packed quite tightly above Chelsea, a winning streak could see them climb several spaces.
A comprehensive 5-1 win over Brentford in a post-World Cup friendly, as reported by The Express, helps to build momentum.
There’s still a long way to go, and Chelsea could realistically still win the EPL. However, they need a strong transfer window and an excellent start to the second part of the season to give themselves a chance to climb the table.