Football

Grant tips Blues for the title

This has to be Chelsea's season, says ex-Blues manager Avram Grant.

The Israeli (below), who took the London side to the Champions League final in 2008, has tipped Jose Mourinho's men to lift the EPL trophy as they look the strongest this season.

Mourinho has boosted his side, which finished third last season, with Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis for a combined £75 million ($157m).

Even if Costa turns out to be a costly flop, Mourinho can still count on Blues legend Didier Drogba, 36, who made a shock return to Stamford Bridge from Galatasaray.

While Grant believes the title race will be even hotter this season, he insists that - despite the departure of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba - Mourinho's astute signings will give them an edge.

"I think this year will be even more exciting because there are more teams on paper who will fight for the title," Grant told Sky Sports News.

"Of course, there will be all the big teams who were there before. Liverpool joined again after so many years out of the race, so I think it will be a very exciting year.

"Chelsea have a very good squad, Manchester City will have a very good squad, Manchester United will be back in the race, and there's Arsenal and Liverpool. That's enough, but even Tottenham have a good team."

CREATIVE FORCE

It will come down to strength in depth, especially in Chelsea's creative department, where they boast the likes of Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Andre Schuerrle and Oscar.

Said Grant: "You cannot spend so much money and not be favourites.

"I don't think Mr Roman Abramovich is spending money like they did last year, but you don't buy all these creative players if you don't intend to be the champions.

"Of course, nobody can guarantee the title but they have to be favourites."

Grant also thinks that Chelsea had the best players last season.

He said: "Manchester City or Liverpool did not have better players than Chelsea had. Chelsea had a good squad last year and this year, on paper, their squad are the best one.

"No team has a Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar, but they have very good players." - Wire Services.