Chelsea’s tough early fixtures could be a blessing

Chelsea played an incredible 62 game out of a possible 65 last season, and exceptionally long and exhausting campaign.

This one could be even worse – not only could we play a similar number of games, there’s a month long World Cup dropped into the middle of the season which will exhaust players even further.

It will be very interesting to see how different sides approach this break. Some Premier League teams have relatively few players involved – for them, it’s actually more of a month off than a penalty.

Sides with smaller groups of international players can go all out now, recover through November and December while everyone else gets tired out – then double down again in January.

Chelsea – like Man City and the rest of the big teams – are going to have to pace themselves a lot more.

A glance at the football TV schedules show just how many early season tests Chelsea have to content with. We already had our opening day trip to face Everton at Goodison Park televised, and things only get tougher.

Next we face Tottenham, who are looking as strong as any Tottenham team we’ve seen in the last ten years. Considering how half baked we looked last week, this is a scary prospect.

Our game after that is another derby, and on TV too. We play Leeds at Elland Road. After that? Leicester. They look to have dropped off the pace a bit, but they’re still among the top teams in the league.

On the one hand, there aren’t many teams who have such a tough start to the season. On the other, we always like getting a run of hard games out of the way early. Things soften up after that, and while there are no easy games in the Premier League in reality, there are certainly easier games, and Southampton, West Ham, Fulham is a more accommodating stretch.

Let’s hope that front loading some tough games will make things a little easier for us at what is likely to be the crucial part of the season directly before and after the World Cup, which seems to be the point at which many teams will make or break their campaigns.