Arsenal legend Paul Merson has warned Chelsea Premier League title hopes could be over if they manage a slow start to the new campaign.
Chelsea finished fourth on the log last season and won the Champions League after beating Manchester City 1-0 in the finals. The Blues have been tipped to challenge for the title next season but Merson says this could change after just six opening games if they fail to manage a 'nightmare' start to the campaign.
The Blues will start their campaign against Crystal Palace before taking on Arsenal, Aston Villa, Tottenham, and Manchester City.
"Chelsea are facing a nightmare start to the new season and their first six games are already make or break," he said.
"They have tough fixtures and it’s made even worse because so many of their players won’t be back from the Euros in time to be fully fit to play in them."
"Good luck to any team having to do without key men like Jorginho and Mason Mount for too long. Those two went further than most at the Euros as England and Italy both reached the final – and they’re two of Chelsea’s most important players."
"But the club had 16 players who missed the start of pre-season because they were still on holiday after going to the tournament. And even though some of them are back now, they won’t all be fit to start the first few game."
"Chelsea won the Champions League and are fancied to push for the title. But look at Chelsea’s fixtures and you can see what they’re up against it."
"After their opener against Crystal Palace, who will be trying to impress a new manager in Patrick Vieira, it’s brutal."
Putting in the Friday work. 👊— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 23, 2021
The team are back at Cobham to continue preparations for our game against Bournemouth. ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/oCvq33ARRB