Chelsea had a rather forgettable season throughout 2017/18 in the Premier League, as they were dethroned as champions by a rampant Manchester City side and ultimately finished in fifth position in the standings.
That has seen them miss out on a spot in next season’s Champions League competition, with a campaign in the Europa League now beckoning for the Blues under the guidance of Antonio Conte or a potential new manager at Stamford Bridge.
There was some comfort in an FA Cup triumph, though, as Italian tactician Conte set his team up well to overcome bitter rival Jose Mourinho, earning a narrow 1-0 victory against Manchester United at Wembley.
Next up for Conte is a break, as he mulls over his future in London, but some of those within the Chelsea squad has a busy summer ahead, with the 2018 World Cup just around the corner. So, as the biggest sporting event of the summer draws closer, here are the key Chelsea stars fans can keep an eye out for during the finals in Russia.
After a slow start to the season, Chelsea centre back Gary Cahill grew into proceedings and eventually was part of the FA Cup winning side against the Red Devils. Cahill is part of an England squad that is regarded as big outsiders, with odds of between 14/1 and 17/1 to go all the way on Russian territory and claim their first major international trophy since that famous 1966 World Cup success.
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions could be set to benefit from Cahill’s presence in the heart of the defence, whether the boss opts for a two or three-man backline on their Russian ventures in the group stage.
N’Golo Kante There are very few midfielders who cover as much ground and put in the same ridiculous effort as Chelsea anchorman N’Golo Kante, who will be aiming to continue his form into the summer with World Cup title hopefuls France.
The energetic Frenchman helped both Leicester City and Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League crowns in recent campaigns, and he will have his sights now set on international success with Les Bleus. His efforts in the middle of the pitch could be exactly what France need in order for Red Devils misfit Paul Pogba to flourish as well.
Cesar Azpilicueta Since arriving at Stamford Bridge, Cesar Azpilicueta has become a hugely popular figure among fans, having been one of the club’s most consistent performers during his time there.
Solid at the back and boasting an eye for goal, as well as being more than capable of providing assists from deep, Spain will surely benefit from the Chelsea star’s defensive and attacking abilities this summer in their Russian campaign. Eden Hazard
Last but certainly not least, Chelsea’s star man Eden Hazard is aiming to enjoy a strong summer in Russia as well with Belgium. Alongside the likes of Manchester City ace Kevin De Bruyne and Man Utd frontman Romelu Lukaku, Hazard should enjoy an encouraging summer.
Having been the match-winner in the FA Cup final, banishing earlier struggles in the season, Hazard is one of the most exciting players to follow for Belgium, as they prepare to battle for silverware success.