Chelsea head into new season with plenty of storylines

After lifting the Premier League title back in May, Chelsea have had a summer full of rumours, controversy and mixed results. The club will be aiming to defend their title come the second weekend of August, but there are still questions to be asked ahead of the new campaign.

Up and Down Preseason Tour

Chelsea's preseason tour of China and Singapore saw the Blues play just three games, bringing mixed performances and results. A 3-0 win over Arsenal in Beijing kicked started the tour for Antonio Conte's side before consecutive defeats to Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in Singapore ended the tour on a sour note. The biggest positive of the short preseason for Chelsea were the impressive performances of striker Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian scored three goals in three games, including two stunners against Arsenal.

New signings Willy Caballero, Alvaro Morata and Antonio Rüdiger all made their debuts for the club, with Tiemoue Bakayoko still recovering from an injury.

Summer Departures

The summer transfer window saw Chelsea clean house with various role players, allowing the likes of Nemanja Matic to join Manchester United while Nathaniel Chalobah joined Watford. Promising young defender Nathan Ake departed for Bournemouth, as did backup goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Chelsea have also had to deal with the expected loss of Diego Costa, who is still with the club but isn't expected to be part of the near future. The ongoing rumors about Diego Costa and Antonio Conte's disagreements has hung over the club all summer, with no end in sight.

The biggest loss of all came at the beginning of the summer as club captain John Terry left the club on a free transfer after 20 years. Terry's departure is expected to be a huge loss for the dressing room, but with so many first team players leaving, many wonder how the squad will fare on all four fronts with the Blues lacking depth.

What Lies Ahead?

Chelsea's next bit of action will come against Arsenal in the Community Shield, before they kick off their title defence against Burnley at home. Conte's second season in charge will have to begin without Eden Hazard, who is recovering well from a fractured ankle. With a few weeks remaining in the transfer window, there is plenty of time for Conte to strengthen his side and get the squad ready for the opening day of the Premier League.

The champions will also be led out by a new face this season after Gary Cahill was named club captain. It's been an interesting summer to say the least for Chelsea and all eyes will be on Conte's men as they try to retain the title, something that hasn't been done since Manchester United won three in a row (2006-2009).