Gianfranco Zola warns Arsenal and Manchester City that Chelsea are Premier League title contenders
Gianfranco Zola has warned Arsenal and Manchester City that Chelsea are title contenders in the Premier League this season.
The Blues have 20 points from their first ten league games and are currently fourth, seven points behind early leaders Arsenal.
Chelsea had a disappointing start to the season, but have improved since Graham Potter took over as manager at Stamford Bridge.
The west London club is still unbeaten under Potter, despite drawing a point against mid-table Brentford on Wednesday night.
Chelsea may be frustrated at being held by their west London rivals, but Zola sees it as a “positive point” for his old team, which he feels “cannot be counted out” of the championship battle.
‘It’s still feasible,’ Zola told Amazon Prime. Chelsea is a highly talented team with a large roster that can compete in both the Champions League and the Premier League.
‘I remarked before the game that a team like Chelsea cannot be ruled out of the title chase.’
‘I mean, there are a lot of difficult games for the top clubs, but Chelsea will be there, obviously they will have to make another step forward to increase the quality, but they will be there,’ says the coach.
Chelsea drew 0-0 with Brentford Wednesday night thanks to goalkeeper Kepa, who saved headers from Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo twice.
Kai Havertz and Cesar Azpilicueta came close to breaking the stalemate for the visitors, but both were stopped by Brentford’s David Raya.
‘Chelsea is a huge side and they are near to the top of the table, so you may say facing Brentford they need to win, so a draw is not a good result,’ said former Chelsea forward and assistant manager Zola.
‘However, given that this Brentford club is a difficult client, I believe this was a positive point for Chelsea.’
Meanwhile, Potter was ‘disappointed’ that his Chelsea team did not score a victory against Brentford, but agreed a draw was the ‘appropriate’ outcome.
‘We’re always dissatisfied when we don’t win,’ remarked the ex-Brighton manager. A point is fair throughout the course of the game; they had chances, and we pressed towards the end.’ It was a difficult game against a difficult team.
We pushed and pushed and gave it our all.’ With the timetable, it’s not simple, but we put in the work, and I’m proud of them – it’s a hard-earned point.’
‘The performance we had, especially in the first half, we were by much the superior team,’ Brentford manager Thomas Frank remarked. Overall, we deserved to win; we were exhausted after the 84th minute, but I believe we performed admirably.
‘Kepa was incredible. When Chelsea comes here, their goalie is always the man of the match.’
Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday as Manchester United pays a visit to Stamford Bridge.