Chelsea news: Premier League prediction made by Michael Owen

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CHELSEA will just miss out on a return to Champions League football this season.

That’s according to England legend Michael Owen, who has tipped the Blues to finish in 5th come May next year.

Chelsea are an unknown quantity this year after taking on ex-Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as manager.

They have lost star stopper Thibaut Courtois, replacing him with a record-breaking £72m Spaniard in Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Elsewhere they splashed £57m on Italian playmaker Jorginho, while Rob Green joined on a free in a back-up role.

“I don’t see the Blues making a return to the Champions League via the Premier League this season”

Michael Owen

And Ex-Liverpool and Man Utd striker, writing on BetVictor, fears Chelsea will take time to get going under a new manager with no Premier League experience.

He wrote: “New boss Maurizio Sarri will need time.

“Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte won the Premier League and FA Cup in the last couple of seasons at Stamford Bridge and this could be a transitional season for the West London outfit.”

Sarri finished 5th in his first season at the Napoli helm, before surpassing expectations to rank 2nd and 3rd in his following campaigns.

Sarri

GETTY

Sarri has taken over at Chelsea and could face a tough first season in charge

During his three years, his side scored 250 goals, employing a routine 4-3-3 formation which was debuted at last week’s Community Shield loss to Man City.

And while the Blues underwhelmed in that performance, Sarri was forced to play a much weakened side due to ongoing holidays following the World Cup.

Along with that, he has come into the club at a turbulent time with many of his star players wanting away from Stamford Bridge.

While it appears he has managed to convince Brazilian winger Willian to stay, he was not so successful with Courtois, who has called on Eden Hazard to join him at the Bernabeu.

And Owen believes he could face ongoing headaches with regard to keeping the core of his team together as Hazard weighs up his options.

“He has inherited a very good squad although several of the title winning team are looking at potential moves away from West London.

“Keeping his best players will be his biggest challenge in the next week and I don’t see the Blues making a return to the Champions League via the Premier League this season.”

The Blues had a tough preseason, failing to win any of their International Champions Cup matches in normal time, only overcoming Lyon and Inter Milan on penalties, and falling short against Arsenal.

Chelsea are currently 12/1 to claim their sixth Premier League title.

Owen has backed Man City to retain their title, with big-spending Liverpool the only club able to force any competition in second place.

Mauricio Pochettino’s transfer-less Tottenham will come in third, with Man Utd round off the top four, according to the former striker.

This means Owen has placed Arsenal below Chelsea in sixth.

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