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Arsène Wenger has told Chelsea that they won’t have an easy ride defending their title, ahead of the Community Shield match at Wembley.
There are a few major changes to the Chelsea side that won the league last year. The first of which is they’re back in the Champions League again, so they won’t have the same rest period that they had last season, meaning a greater need for squad rotation.
One of the key reasons given for Leicester and Chelsea’s title successes was that they managed to use the same team week after week in the league campaigns. This is often not the case when you have to play important matches against European giants in midweek, as many players can’t handle playing two weekends in a row with a midweek match in the middle.
On this issue, Wenger pointed out how things would likely be different this year. In quotes reported by the Daily Mail, he said: “Last year, Chelsea did not play in the European Cup and certainly they were a bit more consistent (in the Premier League).
“We made 75 points last season, which was four more than the year before, when we finished second in the league. So it looks like Chelsea has taken advantage of the fact that all the other teams were less consistent.”
Another change will be the change in personnel this season. Diego Costa scored a large number of key goals in Chelsea’s title charge, but he has been deemed surplus to requirements. Whether Morata can produce the same kind of goal output remains to be seen.
The third reason Chelsea might not have it so easy this year, identified by Wenger himself, is that the other teams around them have strengthened in key areas, and therefore will push Chelsea harder. Arsène told reporters: “I expect them to fight for the championship. But will they make as many points? I don’t know. You could expect that some teams will be stronger as well and take points from them.”
The Community Shield will give us our first real idea of where Arsenal and Chelsea are in their preparations for the season ahead.
Hopefully the Gunners are up to the task.