Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has ruled out Manchester United to challenge for the title, but has backed Arsenal and Manchester City to be up there to provide competition for the Blues.
Jose Mourinho guided his side to a comfortable league victory for the West London club during the 2014-15 season. The same campaign, which saw Louis van Gaal guide the Red Devils back to top four as they finished the season in fourth spot.
Manchester City were the runners-up, while Arsenal managed to finish third in the league table. Manuel Pellegrini is likely to bolster the Citizens’ squad for the next season, while the Gunners are closing to strengthen their defence as they are close to securing the services of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
The former Blues forward believes United may struggle to improve their performance as the Italian has backed Arsene Wenger’s side and United’s derby rivals to provide competition to Chelsea for the title.
“I know Chelsea are going to be strong – I have no doubt about. I think the question is not what Chelsea can do, it’s what can the others do to challenge them?” Zola told Sky Sports.
“Chelsea will be there. It will be very important that teams like City, Arsenal and United improve their performances.
“City will be stronger next season but I’m expecting Arsenal to be more competitive as well. I thought in the second part of the season Arsenal were outstanding. They impressed with the way they were defending, something that was not their best point.
“If they manage to keep the standard throughout the season, for a little bit longer than they did last year, they will be very, very competitive.
“Regarding Manchester United, we know the potential of the club. The point is I don’t know if they will be able to step up and improve the level of performance. They will be a good challenge for Chelsea as well but I think City and Arsenal will be more competitive.”