TalkSPORT pundit Ray Parlour has decisively claimed Chelsea will finish in the top four this season.
Murmurs of worry have begun to surround the Blues, following an underwhelming pre-season tour of the United States.
The club beat Club America, before a loss on penalties to Charlotte and a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Arsenal.
The Gunners are one of the teams hoping to capitalise on any potential Blues weaknesses, following themselves missing out on a top four finish last season themselves.
However, Parlour has claimed that despite the noise around the club’s potential demise, he is still confident they will secure Champions League football for the following season.
Parlour tips Chelsea for top four
He said: “I think they’re certain to be in top four. I really do. Pre-season – it is important you win games of football, but when you go into the season that’s when it kicks off. Arsenal have had a great pre-season, they’ve got a tricky game against Crystal Palace. They could lose that, then suddenly all of pre-season goes out the window.
“It’s all about fitness levels for me, it’s getting up to speed, ready to go for the opening game.
“I watched the Chelsea game against Arsenal, they just looked a little bit tired. They had a long trip. Maybe it just took it out of them a bit. Once you go into the season, it’s a totally different ball game.”
The Blues also face a tricky test on opening day, as they travel to former manager Frank Lampard’s Everton, a fixture they lost last season.
They will be hoping a strong start can silence the critics around them, and a second-week fixture against fellow top four contenders and bitter rivals Tottenham gives them a fantastic opportunity to do just that.
Beating Antonio Conte’s side four times was a high of last season, and the game will provide a great measuring stick for where they’re at this time around.