7 Steps That Chelsea Need to Take Now to Avoid a Nightmare 2017/18 Season

It's fair to say that Chelsea fans are in a dark, dark place right now. The blissful, ticker-taped memories of ecstasy from their Premier League title win last season are starting to fade rapidly, given the sorry state of affairs the reigning champions now find themselves in. The Blues lost their opening match of the season, a shock 3-2 loss to Burnley. Chelsea looked a shadow of their former selves, anxious in-front of their own fans and creatively barren going forward. The West London side...

Buy New Players. Buy Them Now.

Chelsea fans have endured a summer of disbelief, with every news story on the club seemingly announcing either the loan or sale of a quality player - the cream of the crop being Nemanja Matić's shock £40m move to Manchester United.

With just 14 fit senior players to choose from at present, Blues boss Antonio Conte needs to recruit quickly. The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Drinkwater have been linked with the club recently, each of whom would surely add quality to the side.

Make Stamford Bridge a Fortress Again

A few seasons ago, to lose at home to the likes of Burnley would be an unthinkable occurrence. These days, Chelsea's once formidable Stamford Bridge record is but a distant memory, and it is a far cry from the fortress is was in times gone by.

Stamford Bridge is a truly beautiful stadium, allowing the fans to be close to the pitch and provide an intimidating atmosphere. The Blues need to use this advantage to regain their reputation as one of the toughest away trips in European football.

Develop a Tactical 'Plan B'

Chelsea's 3-5-1 formation proved to be a breath of fresh air last season, continually surprisingly their opponents with the rigidity of their defence and the constant presence of an extra man out wide.

In the pre-season, Chelsea's opponents will have studied their approach further, and will be wise to their tried-and-tested, go-to tactical moves.

To stop their opponents knowing exactly what they're in store for, Conte needs to have a tactical 'Plan B' up his sleeve, ready to deploy to great effect and spring a few surprises.

Stop Selling and Loaning Out Young Talent

There was an outpouring of rage from Chelsea fans following the sale of Nathaniel Chalobah to Watford. Truly the straw that broke the camel's back, the deal exemplified the club's apparent disregard for homegrown talent.

At a time when Chelsea's ranks are about as weighty as stick insect, the sale of the likes of Nathan Aké, alongside the loan departures of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kurt Zouma, Tomás Kalas and Tammy Abraham have left the club bereft of squad options.

Do Not Sack Antonio Conte Under Any Circumstances

Roman Abramovich, despite bringing Chelsea previously unattainable glories, has often tormented Blues fans with his famously short fuse for underperforming managers.

The Russian billionaire has been like a demented lumberjack, furiously felling managers at the club and hurling them mercilessly onto the scrapheap. No less than eight managers filled the hot-seat in the six years between José Mourinho's Chelsea stints.

Sacking Conte would prove highly unpopular with Blues fans, and undo all the progress made in the post-Mourinho era.

Focus on the Main Priorities: Premier League and Champions League

With a squad as thin as Chelsea's, they are going to need to make some fast decision about which competitions to play their best players in this season.

Chelsea have a glorious history in the FA Cup, but the club need to focus on the Premier League and Champions League this season, meaning that they may have to play weakened sides in the domestic cups.

An early exit from the Champions League could prove costly, given the notorious havoc participation in the Europa League can play on a side.

Allow Gary Cahill to Step Out of John Terry's Shadow

The torch of Chelsea's captaincy has been handed on to Gary Cahill, and he needs to be given the chance to step out of the former Chelsea legend's shadow.

Cahill has been an admirable servant to the club since joining in 2012, becoming a two-time Premier League champion and helping the Blues win the first Champions League in their history.

The former-Bolton star has become one of the best central defenders in the league, and is ready to become a legendary Chelsea captain.

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