Back to Premier League glory and back in the Champions League. It was a perfect season for Chelsea as Antonio Conte took charge of The Blues after a toxic campaign under predecessor Jose Mourinho. The club romped home to lift the Premier League trophy, and Conte showed English football how effective a five at the back system is.
It's not been plain sailing this season for Chelsea, struggling with juggling competitions, rotating personnel and numerous injuries. You will face the same challenges on Football Manager 2018, but can you find some continuity at Stamford Bridge and fight on all fronts?
After firing up your game, Chelsea's Director of Football Michael Emenalo will welcome you and present the philosophies of the club. These are to play possession-based, attacking football. Given the calibre of clubs Chelsea will mostly play against, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Owner Roman Abramovich will then lay out the expectations for the season. These are adjustable, and the more ambitious you go, the larger the budgets you will receive. The default is to qualify for the Champions Cup (Champions League), reach the final of the FA Cup and reach the quarters of the European Champions Cup. The Community Shield and Carabao Cup are not deemed important.
These are realistic goals, but you could be slightly greedier and go for a FA Cup win, giving you an extra £2 million. Targeting the semi-finals in Europe will provide an extra £4 million to your budget.
Transfer: £64 million
Wage: £3 million per week (Current: £2.7 million)
You may be tempted go for Conte’s robust 5-2-3 formation, but there is a spanner in the works. On FM 18, there’s a big difference in playing Azpilicueta at right back and in the centre or as a wing back. It will take a couple of months for him to be acclimatised to play in that position, so starting off go with a 4-1-2-3 DM wide system. When Tiemoue Bakayoko returns from injury you can move Cesc Fabregas further forward and play a 4-2-3-1 DM wide.
Thibaut Courtois is in goal, and in front of him we have gone for Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso.
N’Golo Kante is in defensive midfield, and with Tiemoue Bakayoko out injured, you have to go with Danny Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas.
Willian is on the right side, with Pedro on the left as star man Eden Hazard is also injured. Alvaro Morata is the ‘complete forward’ leading the line.
On the bench you should have Willy Caballero, Gary Cahill, Davide Zappacosta, Andreas Christensen, Kenedy, Charly Musonda and Michy Batshuayi. With us not playing a back five, there is no need for right wing back specialist Victor Moses.
Star man Eden Hazed faces a couple of months on the sidelines, but he should come straight in out wide on the left upon his return.
You should look to keep things simple and use the standard mentality with flexible team shape. It will be tough without Hazard and Bakayoko, with the squad looking thin when you start the season. Discipline will be the key, and that shouldn’t be a problem with N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater in the side.
Try to get as many green lights in the side as possible, with the only decisions you need to make are the roles of Cesc Fabregas, Danny Drinkwater and Pedro. Both Drinkwater and Fabregas want to play as a ‘deep lying playmaker’ but you will need one of them to get closer to the forwards. As for Pedro, he's not as comfortable on the left side, but he's accomplished in three roles (Winger, Inside Forward and Raumdeuter). Morata will need support up front, so we have gone for the ‘inside forward’ role.
Some of the world’s best are in this Chelsea side, and when you get them all on the pitch at the same time, The Pensioners can go toe-to-toe with any side in the world.
Eden Hazard – CA 4.5 star (179), PA 4.5 star (185)
Chelsea’s most talented player and a nightmare for defenders. Eden Hazard missed the start of the season but he looks back to his best, terrorisingdefences. If Chelsea are to fight for trophies this season they will need the crafty Belgian on top form once again, with the 26-year-old scoring 16 goals in the Premier League last season.
Hazard has a 179 PA score on FM 18, which consists of 20 agility, 20 dribbling and 19 penalty taking. A 185 potential takes him into the bracket of world class players, which is reflected by his £70 million value. His current wages are £223,000 a week.
Thibaut Courtois – CA 4 star (165), PA 4 star (185)
An underrated goalkeeper, it won’t be long before Thibaut Courtois is challenging the likes of Manuel Neuer and David de Gea for the title of best goalkeeper in the world. Another Belgian, the 25-year-old took the PL golden glove last season with 16 clean sheets.
His 165 CA can rise to a 183 potential, with his best attributes being his 19 jumping, 18 important matches and 18 aerial ability. Courtois’s current value is £43 million with wages of £100,000 a week.
N’Golo Kante – CA 4 star (164), PA 4 star (164)
Chelsea’s best performer last season, the club’s recent struggles highlight how important two-time Premier League winner N’Golo Kante is to the side. The defensive or central midfielder has revolutionised defending high up the pitch, with the five foot six French international, showing immense work rate and ground coverage in making tackles and interceptions.
He has hit his peak at the age of 26 on FM, with CA and PA 164. 20 tackling, 20 teamwork, 20 work rate and 20 stamina reflect Kante’s game perfectly, with his value of £49.4 million exceptional for a defensive midfielder. He is deserving of his £150,000 a week wages.
Chelsea have been heavily criticised in the past for failing to bring through incredibly talented youngsters from the youth academy. Six trophies have been lifted by the youth sides over the past three seasons, as The Blues look for their first established graduate since former skipper John Terry.
Dujon Sterling – CA 1.5 star (90), PA 2.5-3.5 star (158)
Handed his Chelsea debut earlier this season, Dujon Sterling will be hopeful that more chances come his way. With the Blues having to deal with four competitions as well as injuries, there is a good chances that right back Sterling will be needed later in the campaign. The 17-year-old has a 90 current ability rating on the game, which can rise to 158. 16 acceleration, 16 determination and 16 pace are promising attributes, but Sterling’s current value is only £85,000. Look to nurture or loan out the youngster, whose wage is £1,500 a week.
Jonathan Panzo – CA 1 star (70), PA 3-4 star (152)
At just 16, it is likely you would have never heard of centre back Jonathan Panzo. He clearly has potential, already playing for both the U18s and U23 sides last year. Panzo was one of England’s star players in their U17 World Cup win, so expect big things to come from the defender. His 70 current ability means you will need to be patient with him, but you will be rewarded with his 152 potential. His 15 temperament, 14 acceleration and 14 pace makes him worth £3,800 with his wages currently only £105 a week.
Callum Hudson-Odoi – CA 1.5 star (90), PA 3.5-4 star (151)
Another U17 World Cup winner, Callum Hudson-Odoi was a constant threat in the final third for his country. The 16-year-old is best equipped to play as a number 10, but he can also operate on either flank. Despite being just 16 years old he has been deemed too good to play with Chelsea U18s, making five U23 appearances this season. His 90 CA score consists of 20 temperament, 19 determination and 17 adaptability, and he's able to grow to a 151 potential. He is also on £105 a week and is valued at £150,0000.
|Midfield Depth||Defence Depth|
|Star Midfielders (Cesc Fabregas, Willian & Eden Hazard)||Strength|
|Star Goalkeeper (Thibaut Courtois)||Jumping reach|
Team Leaders – Gary Cahill (C), Cesar Azpilicueta (vice-captain), David Luiz
Highly influential – Pedro, Cesc Fabregas, Willian, Eden Hazard Thibaut Courtois
A new feature for FM 18, Dynamics illustrate the chemistry within the squad. You should look at which players have a higher influence, as how you treat them will have a knock-on effect on the squad. With Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz as the team leaders, it's more than likely that at least one of them will always be on the pitch so you should always have a strong leader in your side.
£62 million is not a huge amount of money in today’s terms with Chelsea already spending cash on Alvaro Morata (£58m), Tiemoue Bakayoko (£40M), Davide Zappacosta (£23m) and Danny Drinkwater (£27m). You would have thought the £49 million move of Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid would have given you a healthier balance, so you will need to be shrewd in the market and maybe save cash for January, where you should receive an extra £20 million.
Central midfielder – Radja Nainggolan (CA 170, PA 170)
Someone who Chelsea chased in the summer, Radja Nainggolan would be a perfect signing for the Blues. With Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater your only fit central midfielders and all in the starting 11, you need reinforcements. Suited to the box-to-box midfielder role, the 170-rated Nainggolan would come straight into your first team and balance out your midfield. He is at the peak of his career and he will cost around £50 million, not a bad price in today’s market. For his weekly £101,600 wages you will get attributes of 19 tackling, 18 balance and 18 natural fitness.
- Sami Khedira - Age 30, Juventus, Germany, CA 165, PA 167, Value: £29m, Wage: £127k
- Claudio Marchisio - Age 31, Juventus, Italy, CA 163, PA 172, Value: £22m, Wage: £111k
- Kevin Strootman - Age 27, Roma, Holland, CA 157, PA 164, Value: £26m, Wage: £101k
- Ljubomir Fejsa - Age 28, Benfica, Serbia, CA 156, PA 156, Value: £20m, Wage: £37k
Players to sell
With a relatively thin squad, there is no one jumping out to leave the club, but it all hinges on which formation to play. With talented players in your U23 squad you should be able to limp through to January with this side, so you shouldn't be making more than one sale.
If you are set to use a back four for the entire season, Victor Moses just doesn’t fit into the squad. The Nigerian international is now a wing-back specialist and isn’t good enough to operate as a wide midfielder. The 26-year-old should collect you £25 million, which could be vital in the transfer marker, as well as his £75,000 a week wages.
One of the most financially stable clubs in the world, Chelsea get the balance right when splashing the cash. Looking at the financial projection, balance and turnover is on the up, as is your transfer budget. Your profit is set to turn into loss, but for only one calendar year which is great news as manager. With no debts to pay off, things are looking good for the foreseeable future.
Strengthen and go again
It’s been a rocky start to the season for Chelsea, but wins away over Tottenham and Atletico Madrid show this side is exceptional on their day. A couple of additions will be vital if you're going to compete for silverware this season. The January transfer window will be crucial for the club both in real life and on FM.
Make sure your side is accustomed to all the systems you will use, as rotation and tactics will be vital to your success with The Blues. Stability is what this club needs, can you be the one to finally provide it?
Chelsea first team squad roles and ratings
|Player||Age||Pos||Role||Duty||Role Ability||CA/ PA|
|Thibaut Courtois||25||GK||Goalkeeper||Defend||4 star||165/ 183|
|Cesar Azpilicueta||27||DR||Wing-Back||Defend||4 star||160/ 165|
|Antonio Rudiger||24||CD||Central Defender||Stopper||3 star||149/ 163|
|David Luiz||30||CD||Ball Playing Defender||Stopper||3.5 star||155/ 157|
|Marcos Alonso||26||DL||Wing-Back||Defend||3 star||147/ 151|
|N’Golo Kante||26||DM||Defensive Midfielder||Defend||4 star||164/ 164|
|Cesc Fabregas||30||MCR||Advanced Playmaker||Support||4 star||156/ 174|
|Danny Drinkwater||27||MCL||Deep Lying Playmaker||Support||3 star||142/ 144|
|Willian||28||AMR||Winger||Support||4 star||161/ 162|
|Pedro||29||AML||Inside Forward||Attack||3 star||157/ 164|
|Alvaro Morata||24||STC||Complete Forward||Attack||4 star||159/ 170|
|Willy Caballero||35||GK||Goalkeeper||Defend||2.5 star||140/ 151|
|Gary Cahill||31||D (C)||Ball Playing Defender||Stopper||3 star||143/ 155|
|Davide Zappacosta||25||D (R) WB (R) M (R)||Full-Back||Attack||3 star||140/ 149|
|Andreas Christensen||21||D (C) DM M (C)||Ball Playing Defender||Defend/ Cover||3 star||142/ 171|
|Kenedy||21||AM (RL) ST (C)||Inside Forward||Support||2.5 star||130/ 150|
|Charly Musonda||20||DM AM (LRC) M (C)||Inside Forward||Support||2 star||130/ 161|
|Michy Batshuayi||23||ST (C)||Complete Forward||Attack||2.5 star||139/ 155|
|Victor Moses||26||WB (R) M (R) AM (R)||Wing-Back||Attack||3 star||146/ 146|
|Kylian Hazard||21||AM (LC)||Advanced Playmaker||Defend||1.5 star||92/ 103|
|Trevoh Chalobah||19||D (RLC)||Central Defender/ Defensive Centre Back||Cover/ Any||1.5 star||98/ 146|
|Tiemoue Bakayoko||22||DM M (C)||Ball Winning Midfielder/ Carrilero||Support||3 star||142/ 162|
|Eden Hazard||26||AM (RLC)||Inside Forward||Support||4.5 star||179/ 185|
How is your save with Chelsea going? Let us know who you've signed in the comments section below.
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