With 2021 drawing to a close, it’s interesting to think about the Chelsea stories that will develop in the next calendar year.
The Blues kickstarted 2021 with club legend Frank Lampard as their manager, however, Stamford Bridge is a completely different place when you fast forward nearly 12 months.
Thomas Tuchel’s success as Chelsea boss for the majority of the year has been a joy for supporters to watch, including the glory of winning the Champions League at the end of last season.
It goes to show what a rollercoaster football can be in a short space of time.
Here The Chelsea Chronicle makes some bold predictions for what may happen in 2022:
Mount overtaken by Chelsea loan diamond
For many, 22-year-old academy graduate Mount is the poster boy of Chelsea football club.
The attacking midfielder has developed into a key first-team player during recent seasons and continues to be a vital figure this campaign. He’s a go-to player in Tuchel’s XI, but perhaps a new rival may emerge for him next year.
Conor Gallagher, 21, is a Chelsea-owned talent currently excelling out on loan with Premier League and London rivals Crystal Palace.
It looks like next season he’ll be ready to push for a position at Stamford Bridge, especially as he’s already been rewarded by Gareth Southgate with a senior England call-up.
If he continues at the current rate, the creative playmaker has the potential to really put Mount under pressure in the second half of 2022.
One bold prediction is that Gallagher will overtake Mount in Chelsea’s pecking order towards the back end of the next calendar year, albeit he’s got a long way to match his achievements.
James to make Ballon d’Or shortlist
Chelsea had five representatives on the 30-man shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award, with the club’s European success largely aiding that. Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Romelu Lukaku, Mason Mount and Cesar Azpilicueta were all contenders for an individual prize won by Lionel Messi.
Another bold claim going into next year is that 22-year-old Reece James will be shortlisted for the 2022 edition.
The right wing-back’s game has started to reach new heights in the past few months, especially because he’s becoming more consistent in the final third with his end product.
He should only keep improving the longer he works with manager Tuchel, who’s clearly got big faith in him.
Chalobah on England plane for Qatar
A third and final prediction is that Trevoh Chalobah forces his way into Gareth Southgate’s England plans in time for the Qatar World Cup, which gets underway in November next year.
The 22-year-old centre-back has been Chelsea’s surprise package so far this campaign by breaking into the senior squad.
He’s barely foot a wrong whenever called upon in the back three and surely the Three Lions are aware of him. Also, he’s got the versatility drop into the midfield like he did in the recent league match with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The quick defender has represented England up to the Under-21 age group, but he’s got time to make a dart for the senior squad in time for the next World Cup.
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