After an excellent 2021 that saw them named club of the year, Chelsea will now look to build on that success heading into the new year.
Chelsea were able to enjoy great success after a change in personnel at the helm of affairs that saw them appoint Thomas Tuchel as manager. The club went on to win the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup in 2021. They also broke their transfer record to sign striker Romelu Lukaku from Internazionale.
The end of 2021 saw a mixture of injuries and COVID-19 derail Chelsea's campaign in the Premier League. However, strong performances will get them back in the race, and also help them make a deep run in the Champions League. Chelsea are also alive in both domestic cup competitions, and also have the FIFA Club World Cup to play for.
Midfielder Saul Niguez has not considered because he's unlikely to be at the club beyond the season. With youngsters Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour doing well on loan, the services of the Spaniard will likely not be retained by Chelsea.
On that note, here's a look at five Chelsea players who must improve this year to help the club achieve their goals.
#5 Malang Sarr
Having narrowly missed out on a summer loan move to Greuther Furth, France U-21 international Malang Sarr was drafted in by Tuchel to bolster his defence. The defender, who was on loan at FC Porto last season, found himself playing games for Chelsea.
Sarr was given a handful of games to impress the Chelsea boss. Unlike fellow youngster Trevoh Chalobah, the Frenchman was unable to nail down a place in the squad.
Before the season-ending injury suffered by Ben Chilwell, it was decided to loan out Sarr during the January transfer window. The injury to Chilwell changed the defender's fate, as Tuchel recognises the importance of keeping the squad as big and competitive as possible.
Sarr should get chances to impress in 2022, and must be prepared to take them with both hands. The club will be competing on multiple fronts, and Sarr is likely to get games at Chelsea in the second half of the season.
Considering the contract situation of Antonio Rudiger, Sarr could position himself well in the eyes of the coaching staff.
#4 Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley has had a tumultuous season at Chelsea. Considered on his way out of the club in the summer, he continued as a Chelsea player, as there was no suitor for his services. The Englishman has made 11 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, but has no goals or assists to show for his efforts.
At 28, it is expected that Barkley should be at the top of his game at Chelsea, but the midfielder has had a rather disappointing spell at the club. The recent injury problems suffered by the team in midfield make it unlikely that Tuchel would let Barkley leave the team in the winter.
Barkley must be ready to deliver much more quality in 2022 to help Chelsea compete in all fronts.
He must now come through for the side with positive contributions to aid their ambitions. In the process, he could possibly position himself for a national team return ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
#3 Callum Hudson-Odoi
After deciding against leaving Chelsea to join up with the England U-21 squad in October, Callum Hudson-Odoi impressed during a string of starts. Since then, the winger has not covered himself in glory for Chelsea, though.
Hudson-Odoi has been a member of the first team at Chelsea since 2018, but has failed to nail down a starting spot. The winger has only managed four goals for Chelsea in the Premier League since his debut, and has been guilty of profligate finishing in recent weeks.
Hudson-Odoi sees himself as a player who should be with the senior national team. With the FIFA World Cup only months away, he needs to do better in 2022 to do that. The youngster must prove to both Thomas Tuchel and Gareth Southgate that he deserves to be a regular for Chelsea and the Three Lions in 2022.
#2 Kai Havertz
Hyped as a generational talent on his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Kai Havertz struggled to settle in his first season. The German forward came into his second season with high hopes after scoring in the Champions League final.
In terms of success, the youngster has already won the biggest trophy in European football, but he won't be satisfied with how he has fared so far. Havertz has five goals and three assists in 23 appearances for Chelsea this season. That's a somewhat disappointing return for a player signed for north of £70 million.
Havertz has struggled to replicate his best performances in a Chelsea shirt, and will have to do better in 2022 for the Blues to justify their huge outlay on him.
#1 Timo Werner
Going by the rumours flying around, 2022 could be a big year for Timo Werner as a Chelsea player. The German striker has not hit the heights expected of him since his arrival, and is reportedly frustrated with his bit-part role at the club.
The arrival of Romelu Lukaku in the summer has piled on the pressure on Werner to deliver. Since then, Werner has scored five goals and made two more in 15 appearances for the club.
With the FIFA World Cup in the horizon, the German forward will look to have a strong 2022, after an underwhelming outing at the Euros. The striker didn't start a group game for Germany after failing to impress in the months leading up to the tournament.
Werner needs to up his game for Chelsea to give manager Thomas Tuchel a selection headache and also help the Premier League giants achieve their goals.