With a season largely to forget, Chelsea fans will be looking ahead to the European Championships in France this summer for a little bit of relief. The Blues started horribly this campaign and have only started looking anywhere near the defending champions they are supposed to be once Guus Hiddink came in for the departing Jose Mourinho.
Stability has been the key since the Dutchman’s arrival and the side have looked better since the New Year. Unfortunately this has come far too late for the league but will some of Chelsea’s star players shine on the international stage this summer?
Blues in France
With such a large squad of international players to choose from it is somewhat surprising how few of the current side will be performing regularly in this summer’s competition. Chelsea have players from all over the world and are usually very well represented when it comes to World Cups. But when it is just the European players on show there is little to choose from.
The biggest Chelsea contingent in France this summer will probably be in the Spanish squad. But it is likely that they will be squad members rather than starters. Cesc Fabregas has had a particularly disappointing season in the league but should be in the Spanish squad and may even be a first choice for head coach Vincente Del Bosque. He’ll be hoping that his incisive passing will return to help the Spanish side forget a torrid World Cup in Brazil.
Also likely to make the trip to France are Pedro and Azpilicueta. Both have appeared recently for their country but will have to make do with a seat on the bench at best. The other big question for Spain will be whether Diego Costa is included in the squad. Their passing style doesn’t really suit the Brazilian-born striker and with the outstanding championship winning form seemingly deserting him this season he may have to do with watching the competition at home on his TV like the rest of us.
Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard are the two Belgian Chelsea players to look out for in France this summer. Courtois should get the nod over Mignolet who deputised when the Chelsea keeper was injured towards the end of the qualifying campaign. But with talk of Courtois wanting a return to Spain, this may be the last time he represents his country as a Blue.
Like much of the Chelsea side, Hazard has not performed anywhere near his ability this season and will be hoping that a tournament where his country go in as one of the favourites is a place where he can shine. With many commentators predicting success for the Belgians, this golden generation will want to come up with the goods in France.
It is a sad case of affairs that the only English player on duty from Chelsea at the Euros will be Gary Cahill.
After being named as captain for the Estonia qualification match towards the end of last season it is obvious that Roy Hodgson trusts the Chelsea man to marshal the England defence, whoever he is paired with. Cahill hasn’t added much of an attacking threat when it comes to England but with a new, younger side Hodgson will have plenty of other players to perform those duties.
A Blue Euro 2016
If Chelsea fans were looking for their players to brighten up their summer after a challenging season then they may well be disappointed. There will be a few of the current squad on show in France but it will be more interesting to check out prospective signings before they arrive at Stamford Bridge.
No doubt there will be a number of players performing at the Euros who will be in Chelsea’s sights. The fans will be hoping that whoever they are, they quickly erase the memory of this season and bring some success back to the club.