It’s been a bizarre season for Chelsea. The Blues went unbeaten for the first 12 Premier League games of the season and reached the final of the EFL Cup, but the majority of Chelsea fans aren’t happy. Despite those positives there have been as many, if not more negatives, with 4-0 and 6-0 losses away to Bournemouth and Manchester City respectively stunting their challenge for not just for the title but also the top four.
Fortunately for you, you get to start for the top in Football Manager 2019, and with the current squad. No problems in attack as you will have Gonzalo Higuain up front, and with a more threatening Chelsea side, can you mount a title challenge with the West London club? RealSport gives you all you need to know as you oust Maurizio Sarri from Stamford bridge.
There are just two philosophies to follow as Chelsea boss this season, to play both possession-based and attacking minded football. ‘Sarriball’ was meant to achieve this under the current boss, but you will need to be far more efficient on FM this season.
Expectations are tough at Chelsea, but they are realistic for a first season with a new manager at the helm. In the English Premier Division, you need to finish inside the top four and qualify for the European Champions Cup. If you target winning the division, you will be given an extra £3.3 million.
In the FA Cup, you will be expected to do much better than Chelsea’s fourth round display this term, with a trip to the semi-finals demanded by the board. If you aim to reach the final you will receive an extra £700,000 for your transfer budget.
In the EURO Cup, you need to reach the final, with the aim of winning the competition also giving you an extra £700,000.
There are a few options for your tactical style with Chelsea, with vertical tiki-taka perhaps the best suited to this Chelsea squad. This should provide attacking, fast-paced football but you could run into trouble against the top defences in the Premier League. Possible alternatives are control possession, tiki-taka, wing play or fluid counter-attack.
A 4-3-3 DM wide should do the trick on Football Manager, with the Chelsea starting lineup well balanced. You can tweak this around to suit your playstyle, with a 4-2-3-1 another option if you want to get in between the lines of the opposition.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is in goal, with the back four made up by captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and the promising Emerson.
New signing Jorginho operates as the defensive midfielder whilst N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic are in the slightly more advanced midfield positions.
Pedro gets the nod over Willian on the right wing, whilst the on-loan Gonzalo Higuain and star man Eden Hazard complete the attack.
On the bench go for Willy Caballero, Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Willian and Olivier Giroud.
-NOTE- All Chelsea players involved in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup will still be on holiday for the Community Shield vs Man City (N'Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Olivier Giroud, Gary Cahill)
Chelsea are considered a top class side, but the worry is that a gap is starting to emerge between their brightest stars and the rest of the squad.
Eden Hazard – CA 4.5 star (180), PA 4.5 star (185)
Of course, Eden Hazard leads the charge with the Belgian netting 15 times and picking up 11 assists in his first 37 games this season. The end could ne nigh for the 27-year-old at Stamford Bridge however, with Real Madrid reported to be interested and Champions League by no means a guarantee next season.
Hazard’s 180 CA on Football Manager is only five off his 185 potential on the game, so his abilities of 20 dribbling, 20 agility and 19 penalty taking may receive greater support. The left winger is valued at £80 million with £225,000 a week wages but you should be concerned that is contract will expire in 2020.
Gonzalo Higuain – CA 4 star (167), PA 4 star (180)
Gonzalo Higuain was the striker Chelsea were missing in the first half of the campaign, but the Argentine has no time to settle and needs to deliver straight away if the Blues are to make the top four. If he is a success for you on FM, you have the option of a £32 million transfer for the on-loan striker at the season.
Juventus loanee Higuain has a 167 PA on the game, which has fallen some way from the 30-year-old’s 180 potential. He still holds stats of 18 finishing, 18 decisions and 18 anticipation to make him a deadly striker and take his value to £60 million and wages to a whopping £300,000 a week.
N’Golo Kante – CA 4 star (165), PA 4 star (165)
N’Golo Kante is faultless at what he does with the Frenchman winning two Premier Leagues, an FA Cup and the World Cup in the space of two years. Aged 27, there is still time for the midfielder to achieve even more in his career, and you would be surprised if that were to be away from Chelsea.
Kante’s 165 CA is his peak, so his stats of 20 tackling, 20 stamina and 20 work rate should hold for a year or two. His is valued at £60 million with wages of £300,000 a week.
Chelsea have one of the finest academy’s in England, winning the FA Youth Cup five times on the spin. With a smallish squad this season, a few have had their opportunity to impress.
Callum Hudson-Odoi – CA 2.5 star (133), PA 4-5 star (140-170)
Subject to a £35 million bid from Bayern Munich this season, Callum Hudson-Odoi is clearly a prized asset at Chelsea. If he doesn’t receive the gametime he needs to develop, he is likely to leave, so bear that in mind on FM. The 17-year-old’s CA is already at 133, which can rise to a potential between 140 and 170, meaning he has a £14.5 million value and £10,000 a week wage.
Ethan Ampadu – CA 2 star (125), PA 4-5 star (140-170)
Ethan Ampadu was the breakout youngster from last season, with his seven appearances under Antonio Conte leading him to making his debut for the Welsh national team. Equally adept to play at centre back or defensive midfield, the 17-year-old is a fantastic young player to have if injuries creep in. His 125 CA should improve to a PA between 140 and 170, which sees him valued at £9.5 million and wages of £7,500 a week.
Daishawn Redan – CA 1.5 star (95), PA 2-3 star (130-160)
A man you may not have heard of is Daishawn Redan, with the Dutchman netting 29 times in 53 games across the Chelsea U18, U19 and U23 sides. Now 18, he may not be too far away from a first team call up. On FM, the striker has a 91 CA which can rise to a potential between 130 and 160, which takes his value to £220,000 and earns him £2,500 a week wages.
|GK Rushing out||Overall Depth|
|Star midfielders (Eden Hazard, Jorginho)||Transfer budget|
|Midfield Depth||Attack depth|
|GK Aerial reach|
|GK Command of area|
Team Leaders - David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta (VC), Gary Cahill (C)
Highly influential - Pedro, Cesc Fabregas, Willian, Eden Hazard, Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £15 million
Remaining wage budget: £150,000 a week
Players to sell
Now, with the latest FM update having an impact on transfers and budget you will see you don’t have much to play with in the transfer budget. This will be the same for many other clubs, so big buys and big sells will be rare. It also means you will need to finance a move for potential talent by selling off your own players first.
Marcos Alonso was on the finest players in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation in the previous two seasons, but he hasn’t adjusted well to a conventional back four this term. His CA on the game now matches back-up Emerson’s at 145, and with the Italian having a greater potential at 158 compared to Alonso’s 151, the Spaniard’s future is in jeopardy. If you sell him, you could collect £32 million and pick up a superior replacement for less money, especially with his £100,000 a week wages.
Other business you can do is of two players who haven’t featured this season. Marco van Ginkel’s injury problems look to have ended a potential career at Chelsea, but you should still be able to sell the central midfielder for around £15 million. As for Rob Green, the 38-year-old can be sold for £150,000. The pair will free up an extra £53,000 a week in your wage budget. You may be tempted to sell Danny Drinkwater, but after Cesc Fabregas left in January you may want to keep the former Leicester man as cover.
New transfer budget: £62 million
New remaining wage budget: £303,000 a week
Top quality left back
If you sell Alonso, you must bring in a replacement, and there are actually a few options who can slot straight into your side for a reasonable price. Alex Telles looks to be the best deal out of the bunch, with the Brazilian available for £31 million with wages starting at just £22,500 a week. The 25-year-old stats of 17 corners, 17 crossing and 16 acceleration see him receive a 151 CA with a potential of 154.
|Faouzi Ghoulam||27||Napoli||Algeria||151/ 158||£24m||£77k|
|Jose Gaya||23||Valencia||Spain||151/ 158||£17m||£57k|
|Alex Grimaldo||22||Benfica||Spain||147/ 163||£17m||£18k|
|Lucas Hernandez||22||Atletico Madrid||France||151/ 170||£17m||£50k|
|Alex Sandro||27||Juventus||Brazil||161/ 168||£46m||£89k|
Five players have contacts at the end of the season for Chelsea, and you should be looking to renew all but one of them. David Luiz is a starter at the moment, and although he is likely to be replaced by Andreas Christensen over the season, you will still want him as cover. It is similar for fellow centre back Gary Cahill, and as it stands he deserves a new deal, but you may wish to keep an eye on his stats this season to see if he is worth having around next year.
With Gonzalo Higuain only on loan, you will want Olivier Giroud for at least another year, and you may want to keep veteran goalkeeper Willy Caballero on the books just in case something happens to first choice Kepa Arrizabalaga. As we mentioned before, fellow goalkeeper Rob Green should be sold before his contract expires.
Chelsea’s financial projection looks rosy, with balance, turnover and your transfer budget all on your rise. The slight concern might be the depreciation of profit, but just imagine what will happen if you get the club back into Europe’s premier competition. There is certainly nothing to be worried about financially in the foreseeable future.
Another title a step too far?
Chelsea’s squad is good, but not great. The transfer policy since winning the Premier League title in 2017 has been unclear, with the Blues either overspending on risky signings (Tiemoue Bakayoko £40m, Alvaro Morata £58m, Jorginho £51m, Kepa Arrizabalaga £72m, Christian Pulisic £58m) or just buying players not good enough to be at the club (Davide Zappacosta £23m, Danny Drinkwater £35m).
That leaves you with a small budget and a below par squad to gun for the title. Top four is a realistic aim and won’t be easy given you are going up against the rest of the top six. If you can then throw in a cup run (most likely the EURO Cup), you can have a successful season, and have a platform to kick on from next season.
Full Chelsea Player Ratings
|Player||Age||Pos||Role||Duty||Role Ability||CA/ PA|
|Kepa Arrizabalaga||23||GK||SK GK||Defend Support Attack||3 star||155/ 167|
|Cesar Azpilicueta||28||DR||FB WB||Attack Support Defend||3.5 star||149/ 165|
|Antonio Rudiger||25||DC||CD NCB||Defend Stopper||3 star||151/ 163|
|David Luiz||31||DC||BPD NCB||Stopper Defend||3 star||151/ 157|
|Emerson||24||DL||CWB WB FB||Support Attack||3 star||145/ 158|
|Jorginho||26||DM MC||DLP B2B AP||Defend Support||4 star||157/ 162|
|Mateo Kovacic||24||MC||Mezzala DLP AP||Attack Support||3.5 star||162/ 172|
|N’Golo Kante||27||MC||B2B||Support||4 star||165/ 162|
|Pedro||31||AMR AML||IF||Attack Support||3.5 star||156/ 164|
|Eden Hazard||27||AML||IF||Support Attack||4.5 star||180/ 185|
|Gonzalo Higuain||25||STC||DLF||Attack Support||4 star||167/ 180|
|Willy Caballero||36||GK||SK||Support Attack Defend||2.5 star||140/ 151|
|Andreas Christensen||22||DC||BPD||Cover||3 star||149/ 171|
|Marcos Alonso||27||DL WBL||WB FB||Auto Support Attack||3 star||145/ 151|
|Ross Barkley||24||AMC MC||AM SS Mezzala||Support Attack||3 star||145/ 159|
|Ruben Loftus-Cheek||22||MC AMC||DLP Mezzala AP SS||Support Defend Attack||2.5 star||143/ 155|
|Willian||29||AMR||Winger||Support Attack||4 star||154/ 162|
|Olivier Giroud||31||STC||TM||Support Attack||3 star||152/ 156|
|Danny Drinkwater||28||MC||B2B DLP AP Mezzala||Support Defend||2.5 star||142/ 144|
|Davide Zappacosta||26||DR WBR||WB FB||Support Attack||2.5 star||140/ 149|
|Gary Cahill||32||DC||NCB BPD||Stopper Defend||2.5 star||138/ 155|
|Callum Hudson-Odoi||17||AML||Winger IF||Attack Support||2.5 star||133/ <140|
|Ethan Ampadu||17||DC DM||CD BWM BPD DM HB Anchor||Stopper Cover Defend Support||2 star||125/ <140|
|Marco van Ginkel||25||MC||DLP Mezzala B2B||Support Defend||3 star||142/ 149|