Would it Be Wise to Bet on Chelsea to Win the Title Again in 2018-19?
After missing out on the top four following a shocking title defence, we look at whether it could be a wise bet to back Chelsea next season.
Chelsea endured yet another horrific title defence in the 2017-18 Premier League campaign, and Antonio Conte’s previously formidable unit became a shadow of their former selves seemingly overnight. The Blues finished 25 points behind champions Manchester City last term, and failed to secure a spot in the Champions League. But shrewd bettors will be noting that the London club were in a highly similar situation two seasons ago when they went on to storm the league.
There is no doubt about the fact that top-flight title defences are becoming increasingly difficult as the years go on. The last successful manager to retain the title was Sir Alex Ferguson with Manchester United, who won the league for three successive seasons in 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09. Champions are faced with having to use their win as a stepping stone to challenge in Europe, while at the same time attempt to defend their crown in the domestic league. This requires extra recruiting in the summer transfer window, which often affects the balance of the settled team which performed so well the previous term.
There will be high expectations for Pep Guardiola and City after their emphatic win last time out, and the shareholders at the Etihad Stadium will never be content until they are crowned champions of Europe. With the pressure on, this should provide a more level playing field in the league for the 2018-19 season. Chelsea, who don’t have to contend with the Champions League, could look to pounce in the top flight again as they did in 2016-17. The Stamford Bridge outfit can be backed at 10/1 with William Hill at the time of writing, but those odds could soon be slashed depending on their actions in the transfer market.
It seems as though a new era is about to be ushered in at Chelsea, with reports suggesting that Conte will soon be replaced. According to The Sun, Maurizio Sarri is about to step into the Stamford Bridge hot seat. The former Napoli boss will have been promised a war chest to use in the transfer window, and will have found the lure of the greatest league in the world too strong to resist.
Without Champions League football to offer, Chelsea may find it difficult to attract the best players in the world this summer. However, they have been linked with one of the hottest strikers in the business in recent weeks. Robert Lewandoski is rumoured to be interested in a move away from Bayern Munich, with La Liga or the Premier League his preferred choices of destination. If the Blues were to secure the services of a goal scorer of this quality, they would almost certainly be in contention to storm the league once again.
Chelsea are currently outsiders to win the league next term, but those who stake on them now could reap the rewards down the line. Conte’s era has come to a stagnant end, but big changes at Stamford Bridge almost always yield silverware. A look at recent history suggests that Chelsea will bounce back with a bang.
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