Premier League • England

Paul Merson has major Chelsea fear involving Mason Mount and Koulibaly – ‘Not renowned for that’

Mason Mount, Udinese v Chelsea July 2022

Paul Merson has admitted that he wonders where Chelsea are going to score goals from this season as they look to climb the Premier League table.

Following Champions League triumph in 2021, the big aim for the Blues this season is to win the league again. Since the early 2000s, they have won five Premier League titles.

However, they have not won the title since 2017, matching their previous longest run of five years without one between 2010 and 2015.

As a result, Chelsea want to end that streak at six years, with Thomas Tuchel the manager with the task at hand. The Stamford Bridge club begin the campaign away at Everton, who almost suffered relegation last season.

Up top, Raheem Sterling is the marquee new arrival. Tuchel has allowed Romelu Lukaku to move back to Inter on loan, but he also has Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic – among others – at his disposal.

Nevertheless, Merson has insisted that he thinks the west London club will have to find goals from midfield – with Mason Mount key in that regard. He added that he feels unsure how new centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly will adapt.

“Chelsea should play Kai Havertz through the centre – he brings it together for them,” the pundit wrote in his Sportskeeda predictions for Saturday’s Goodison Park clash, which he predicted Chelsea to win 2-1.

“I don’t think he’s going to score more than 20 goals for them. Chelsea will have to rely massively on Mason Mount and their midfield to score, and they’re not renowned for that. Raheem Sterling has scored goals for Manchester City, but playing for Chelsea is a different kettle of fish.”

Merson unsure of Chelsea progress

Merson added: “I don’t know where the goals are coming from at Chelsea, and that’s my problem with them. With Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen gone, they are weaker than they were last season.

“Koulibaly has experience behind him, but he’s played in Italy – their football is not as quick and electric as Premier League football.

“Everton will make it hard for them, and Tuchel will need to grind out a result here.

“Chelsea haven’t been great in pre-season, but I think they have a little too much for Everton this weekend.”

Tuchel needs to hit reset button for Everton

Chelsea in fact didn’t beat Everton in the Premier League last season. Following a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, Everton – on their mission for survival – claimed a 1-0 scalp in May.

As such, Chelsea may fancy their chances, but in reality they have a major point to prove in their first game of the season.

Are Chelsea finding themselves in a difficult situation during pre-season?

Should Chelsea fans be worried for the start of the campaign after losing out on any transfer targets and a somewhat underwhelming pre-season performance?

While winning the Premier League is the big aim for Chelsea, they must first close the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City.

And results against those two – as well as Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United – will also define their progress.