The two rivals that finished ahead of Chelsea in the Premiership last season, Liverpool and Man Utd, are feeling confident in the lead up to the new season, and both of them have just had big wins.
United beat China’s Hangzhou Greentown 8-2 on Sunday, and Ferguson announced he was more than pleased with his striking options, despite losing Tevez and Ronaldo this summer.
“With the experience of Berbatov and Owen, and the talent of Rooney, I think we’re not too bad,” Ferguson said.
“Some of our forward play and penetration was absolutely first-class so for that reason I’ve got to be delighted,”
Giggs also got a hat-trick but Ferguson singled out Owen for a special mention.
“I think his contribution and overall play of a game is definitely suited to us. He’s very cool in the last third of the field. He knows when to run and when to hold his runs,” he said.
He also has Macheda ready to step up when needed. “We didn’t use Macheda tonight but I think it gives us strong options,” he said.
“I think that Macheda’s development obviously as we saw the other night is good for a 17-year-old boy and he’s got the physical attributes to go with it.”
Liverpool also had a good win, thrashing Singapore 5-0 to record their first pre-season victory, and Benitez was bullish after the game. “It was a good game. We worked hard and played at a high tempo with a professional mentality,” he said.
“I think we are improving physically every single day. Some of the players returned late from international duty so it was important for them to play for 30 minutes.
“You can see that some of them are a little bit tired, but the mentality and attitude was good and it was a very good game.”
“We have confidence that we can be at the top of table. It can happen,” he said. “The message is clear, we have to be contenders, we have to work harder than last year.
“We need to get to the top of the table and stay at top and be competitive for the whole season and hopefully win the trophy.”
Liverpool are also expected to lose one of their top players in Alonso, but we can be sure that Benitez will have an adequate replacement lined up. So both of them think that they will win the title this season, and with Arsenal and Man City also capable of springing a surprise, Chelsea cannot expect an easy path to getting the Premiership title back at Stamford Bridge.
But we have also had a pleasing preparation, and hopefully with Ancelotti at the helm, the brilliant form under Hiddinck can be continued into the new season.