Wrapping Up Chelsea's Pre-Season & Taking a Look at What's Next for the Blues
Premier League champions Chelsea have completed their pre-season and are now looking forward to the upcoming FA Community Shield clash with London rivals Arsenal.
The Blues should be feeling pretty good about their chances, given that they routed Arsene Wenger's men 3-0 in a recent friendly - but is there still cause for worry?
The Blues kicked things off with an 8-2 demolition of Fulham and followed that up with a victory over the Gunners. However, since then, they've lost to both Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
Usually there's no shame in losing to the record German champions, but going down 3-0 in the first half could be cause for worry. Conte's Blues came close to forcing a draw, scoring a goal on either side of halftime, yet their late surge was not enough to claw their way back completely.
Chelsea looked to get back on the winning side of things against Inter on Saturday, as the Italian side has been languishing in the middle of the table for the last few seasons. However, a 2-1 loss is all they could manage, thanks to Geoffrey Kondogbia scoring one of the most amazing own goals you'll ever see.
To their credit, the Blues did have Michy Batshuayi's equalising goal wrongly disallowed, with the player adjudged to have been offside when he really wasn't.
Two wins out of four pre-season matches certainly suggests that immediate improvement is needed. The season is not very far off, and with the Blues set to face Tottenham, Everton, Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester City within their first seven matches, they could face an uphill challenge early if results don't go their way.
As things stand, Conte's squad might be too thin for comfort. While the Blues have brought in Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger, and Tiemoue Bakayoko, they've sold Asmir Begovic, Nathan Ake, Bertrand Traore and Nathaniel Chalobah. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kurt Zouma have also been loaned out.
Too add to that, both Eden Hazard and Pedro are doubtful to start the season. The Belgian suffered a broken ankle during the summer and is now undergoing recovery, training on his own. Pedro, meanwhile, came off much worse for wear after he collided with David Ospina during the friendly win against Arsenal, and had to be taken to hospital due to 'multiple fractures' in his face.
The Blues have definitely pleased supporters with their transfer business so far this summer, yet additions are still needed.
Pep Guardiola has overseen a massive overhaul at Manchester City, and will be looking to wrestle the title from London next term. Arsenal and Manchester United have also augmented their attack. Even West Ham are building a frightening side this summer.
It won't be easy to retain the title next season, especially now that the club is back in the Champions League, but Conte worked miracles with the squad last campaign and can probably do just that with a few more key acquisitions.