Chelsea 2023/24 Premier League Season Preview | The Hard Tackle

After struggling in all aspects last season, Chelsea will be eager to hit the ground running under Mauricio Pochettino in the 2023/24 season.

Chelsea were consistently finishing inside the top six back in the late 90s and early 2000s. But, they were never really in the title race. However, things took a turn and they became the big dog in England when Roman Abramovich became the owner of the club.

The 56-year-old business tycoon completed the purchase of the club back in June 2003. And post that, things changed for the good. In the first season of the Abramovich era, the Blues finished second on the points table and then came the biggest move of all time in the history of Chelsea as they appointed José Mourinho ‘The Special One’.

Jose Mourinho heralded the start of the Chelsea juggernaut under Roman Abramovich. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

They won back-to-back league titles and were always in the race for major titles apart from a few seasons where things did not go their way. In the Abramovich era, their lowest finish in the league was 10th place in the 2015/16 season. The Blues followed it up with an incredible run in the 2016/17 season under Antonio Conte as they bounced back and won the league.

Under the new ownership of Todd Boehly during the 2022/23 season, the Blues have had their worst finish since 1993/94. Despite spending a fortune on new signings and changing multiple managers, the results on the pitch did not improve. And, they now have an uphill task of reviving themselves in the 2023/24 season.

The Prelude

While there was a change in ownership and millions were spent on new players, no one expected Chelsea to push for the title. The general expectations were that after investing so much into the squad under a successful manager like Thomas Tuchel, they would surely be in the top four. But, what took place during the 2022/23 season was a nightmare for Chelsea fans.

The Clearlake group completed the purchase of Chelsea on May 30, 2022. And post that, a lot has changed at the club. A fortune has been spent on signing new players, and a number of managers have been tried and tested.

Thomas Tuchel who led the Blues to the Champions League title in 2021 was the man in charge when Boehly took charge. But, he was shown the exit door just a few weeks into the new season. The German manager was replaced by Brighton boss Graham Potter.

As far as player departures are concerned, a total of ten players parted ways with the club. While a few were sold because they were no longer a part of the project, the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso left the club after their contracts ran out. Rudiger joined Real Madrid, while the other two moved to Barcelona.

The departure of the trio left a significant void in the heart of defence. Chelsea signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £33 million, Marc Cucurella from Brighton for £62 million and Wesley Fofana from Leicester City for £75 million to reinforce their defence. But, these signings could not have an immediate impact. While Cucurella and Fofana are still a part of their project Koulibaly has already left the club after a year. 

Overall, the Blues signed eight players on permanent transfer along with a few loan moves. They added Raheem Sterling to their attack from Manchester City for £47.5 million. Despite making so many changes, nothing worked out and Potter’s team continued to struggle.

During the winter transfer window, they added another eight players on a permanent basis. And, their biggest purchases were Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez. They had spent close to £600 million over the two transfer windows. But despite all their efforts, the results on the pitch did not improve.

While the board wanted to back Graham Potter, they had no other option but to sack him as they inched closer to a potential relegation battle. In the first week of April, the Blues appointed their former player and manager Frank Lampard as the caretaker until the end of the season. Despite having three different managers during the same seasons, the results were still the same.

The Blues ended up winning just 11 out of their 38 matches in the league. They lost half of their matches and only managed to score 38 goals throughout the campaign and ended up conceding 47. Chelsea collected a total of 44 points and ended the season 12th on the points table.

Squad Update


Chelsea had signed as many as 16 players along with a few loan moves last summer. Last season, their squad was so big that they did not have enough space in their changing room and a few players had to sit on the floor during team meetings.

Along with that, the wage bill was off the roof. As a result, their focus this summer has been on offloading players who are no longer a part of their project. While it was the need of the hour to reduce the squad size, the departure of a few of those players will surely leave a huge void in the team.

Major Departures

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy

Defenders: César Azpilicueta, Kalidou Koulibaly

Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount

Attack: Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz

The Blues have offloaded quite a few big players in the ongoing window. While they could cover up for it with the help of the players they have signed and those they are pushing for, the midfield might still end up being a weak link.

The likes of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount still had a lot to offer and could have surely helped the young blood settle in at the club. However, with the trio gone they might lack experience. While there is enough quality still left, the majority of them haven’t played enough in the English top flight.

The fact that they have sold some of their best players to immediate rivals might also come back to haunt them. Mount has joined Manchester United, Kovacic has joined Manchester City and Havertz has made the move to Arsenal. Apart from the players who have already left the club, there are a few others who could still be on their out.

Major Arrivals

Forwards: Christopher Nkunku, Nicolas Jackson

Midfielder: Lesley Ugochukwu

The arrival of Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson will surely help their cause. They will add goals to their game and considering the fact that they struggled to score last time out, these are quality signings. While they have added 19-year-old Ugochukwu as a new defensive midfielder, there is still a lot of work to be done.

The Blues need a new world-class defensive midfielder, they want to land Moises Caicedo from Brighton & Hove Albion but have not tasted success yet. Chelsea do have a few alternatives in mind and are trying their best to sign a new midfielder before the start of next season. Meanwhile, have signed Axel Disasi and closing in on landing goalkeeper Robert Sánchez. They were keen on having the 25-year-old AS Monaco defender in their ranks because of an injury to Fofana which will keep him out for a long period of time.

While the West London club’s squad still has a few major concerns, they are working on signing a few players to make sure they have enough depth and quality to be competitive in the 2023/24 season under their new manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Key Fixtures

Given the kind of season Chelsea had last season every fixture this time around is going to be equally important. But, there are a few key fixtures that will define their season.

The Blues are all set to kick things off in the 2023/24 Premier League season with a tough home game against Liverpool on Sunday, August 13. While the Merseyside club also struggled last season, they were still much better than the Blues. And, given the additions they have made to their squad, they will surely test Chelsea to the fullest.

The next four matchdays are expected to be an easy ride for the Blues. On Gameweek 6 they will sure up against Unai Emery’s Aston Villa who will be a force to reckon with next season. But, the fact that it is a home game, things should not be that difficult.

Arsenal will visit the Stamford Bridge on Gameweek 9. By then we will have a clear idea of how much progress Chelse have made under Mauricio Pochettino. November and the early part of December will define the season for the Blues as they will square up against Tottenham Hotspur (away), Manchester City (home), Newcastle United (away), Brighton & Hove Albion (home), Manchester United (away).

If they manage to get through these fixtures with decent returns, the Blues might end up returning close to the top of the table. On Gameweek 22, they will hit the road to square up against Liverpool. Post that on Gameweek 25, Manchester City await them on their home turf.

Towards the end of the season, on Gameweeks 29 and 31, they have two important fixtures against Arsenal (away) and Manchester United (home). While every fixture in the English top flight has its own challenges, the fixture for 2023/24 suggests that fixtures during November and December will be the ones to watch out for.

Key Players

Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea acquired World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez in the winter of 2023 for a fee of over £100 million. The 22-year-old midfielder has since featured in a total of 22 matches for the club and has even contributed with two assists.

While he did not light up the world with his performances, the Argentina international did perform on a regular basis. He showcased his exceptional abilities in the second half of the season and is all set to be an important player in the 2023/24 season.

Thiago Silva

Veteran Thiago Silva was the best Chelsea player last season without any doubt. The 38-year-old led the defence and tried his best to turn things around. While he did his best, the team around him struggled.

Silva will be an important player for Pochettino’s team next season. He has a lot of young players around him and will be a reference point to all of them. The Brazilian defender will have to lead by example and he has everything in his arsenal to once again be the leader of the pack.

Season Expectations

The Blues finished 12th last season and changed three managers during the course. This time around they have Mauricio Pochettino in charge. The former Tottenham Hotspur manager is known for his attacking style of play and he has enough firepower in his ranks to go all out and play an expressive brand of football.

Despite all the changes made to their squad during the ongoing season, the Blues will expect to finish in the top six next season. Their squad does have the quality but it lacks experience.

The heart of a team is its midfield, and that is where the Blues look the weakest. They do not have a proven Premier League star in the centre of the park. No doubt they have the quality but the English top flight demands a lot more and they don’t seem to have it as of now.

In attack, the wide areas are well covered but the striker is missing. Romelu Lukaku is expected to part ways before the start of the season, and they are still formulating plans to sign a new number nine. If they fail to sign a proven goalscorer, they might be in trouble given that they were not at their best in the final third last season.

The best part about their squad at this point in time is their defence. They have a lot of quality in the full-back department and Thiago Silva is a capable leader to guide the central defenders. In short, Chelsea are a team in transition, they have too many young players who have not played much in the Premier League and it will take time for them to return to their peak. As a result, the Hard Tackle predicts an eight-place finish for the London club.

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