Chelsea have announced the team’s new squad numbers for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
The unveiling of shirt numbers can be an important psychological moment for players ahead of the campaign.
It can provide them with the added incentive to perform in the shirts, once adorned by their legendary predecessors.
However, it can also put them under added pressure, knowing that they will be seen in the same light as the ex-players, whose names previously bore their number.
New signings, Thiago Silva, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz have been given the number 6, 11, 21, 22 and 29 shirts respectively, while Christian Pulisic has adopted the number 10 shirt.
However, will the overall shirt numbers provide inspiration or a hindrance to Frank Lampard‘s men?
The numbers game
No pressure for Thiago Silva and Timo Werner
Thiago Silva will wear the number 6 shirt, once worn by Ricardo Carvalho. In his debut campaign, Carvalho helped the side keep the most clean sheets in a single season (34 in 59 matches). He also helped the side record the most clean sheets in a single league campaign (25 in 38 matches) and concede the fewest number of goals in a single league term (15).
If Silva can perform anywhere close to his predecessor Carvalho in his debut season, Chelsea will certainly better their disappointing defensive-record in the league from last campaign, where they conceded 54 goals.
Timo Werner will wear number 11, once worn between 2006-07 until 2014-15 by Didier Drogba, who was Chelsea’s most important if not prolific striker. Drogba scored 164 goals for the club and converted the decisive-penalty that clinched the Champions League title in 2012.
Should the German match the Ivorian’s numbers in crucial matches, he could well be on his way to writing himself into Chelsea folklore as well.
New shirts same responsibilities
Christian Pulisic has been given the number 10 shirt, since the departure of Willian to Arsenal. The American was seen to be the successor of former number 10 Eden Hazard, who joined Real Madrid last summer, and could become just as influential as the Belgian this campaign.
Pulisic scored 11 goals and provided ten assists from 34 appearances in all competitions last season, and will be eager to emulate Hazard’s best return of 16 goals and 15 assists from the 2018-19 league season.
New signing Kai Havertz has taken the number 29 shirt, which belonged to reported Everton target Fikayo Tomori, now number 14. Tomori’s alleged decision to vacate the number, could be to instill his new teammate with confidence, but it could also foreshadow his departure on-loan to The Toffees.
Havertz scored 42 goals and provided 35 assists since making the 29 shirt his own at Die Werkself in 2017-18, and could finish off where he left off, from his 27 goal involvements last term.
It remains to be seen which Chelsea players will embrace their squad numbers and can make them the in-demand shirts in the club shop.
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