Can support star Alvaro Morata handle being cast as Chelsea's leading man?

Can support star Alvaro Morata handle being cast as Chelsea's leading man?

I visited them a couple of times past year, to check how they are doing.

New Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has insisted that manager Antonio Conte has been behaving "the same" as last season despite rumours of a dispute with the club's hierarchy over transfers. Key to their success was a 13-game winning streak that stretched from October to January.

Shearer feels things are not right behind the scenes at Chelsea for the moment and believes they need at least two to three players to challenge for the title again this season.

For the two Manchester clubs, last season was a mixed bag.

Football is, of course, a team game and very rarely can a player's departure mark the death knell of a hitherto successful side. If they don't come together to form a protective barrier then all that beauty at the other end will only decorate another nine months of relative failure.

"I hope to be able to improve our squad".

"Every game becomes tough". Didier Drogba opened his seasonal account with a hat-trick, along with a brace from Florent Malouda and a goal from Frank Lampard. Romelu Lukaku's £90m transfer from Everton may be the headline in United's transfer business, but I think it is the signing of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea that will make all the difference. They have the opportunity to momentarily help us forget about their failed transfer dealings this summer.

"It is just how he uses that talent in the team".

'I don't think Morata will do it that way but he has to come in and be confident, believe in himself and show the quality he has possesses. The context, however, was very different. I still contact them and even the physiotherapists.

It's a fair comment to say that out loud because we're all talking about how the second season is more hard than the first.

"I think it's a challenge on all fronts".

Chelsea's number of available players has decreased, and it is now open to question whether they have the bodies - and the goals - to retain their title.

This apparent sluggishness in acquiring players is contrasted by the number of high profile players allowed to leave the club.

"It won't be easy to repeat an unbelievable season like previous year", he said. They knew what they were doing and their manager is very driven.

Big money signing Alvaro Morata looks like he'll need a bit more time to settle into his new side.

Meanwhile, outside of the first choice XI, Chelsea are also desperately short on players considering the extra fixtures that the Champions League presents. "I see myself at Manchester United, I'm happy here".

Tottenham Hotspur has kept away from all the shopping, but I'm not sure for how long.

"I'm pleased that Manchester United consider me to be off the market, just as I'm pleased by the interest of Italian clubs". They've gone down a certain route with strength in their team and they are potential winners.

How do you rate Liverpool's chances heading into the season?

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent.

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