Gianluca Vialli believes that Antonio Conte's Chelsea will find it difficult to compete with Manchester City this season, but has backed the Blues to go deep into the Champions League.
The Blues were recently beaten 1-0 at Stamford Bridge by Pep Guardiola's side, as Kevin De Bruyne's strike earned the visitors a deserved victory.
Vialli, who played alongside Conte at Juventus and also managed the Blues, believes Chelsea remain a significant threat in the title race, but admits that he is worried by the talent Guardiola has at his disposal.
"I think it has been a decent start of the season for Chelsea," Vialli told Goal in an exclusive interview. "The first match of the Premier League season, they lost at home to Burnley. I think it is quite normal that the title holders don't start the season at their very best because you just won the previous title. Your stomach must still be full after the summer.
"Also I think Antonio was not particularly impressed with the transfer operations up until then and it was getting a bit frustrating. I think that his frustrations were being transferred to the side. I think that's why you had a red card in the Community Shield, and also in the first match of the season with Gary Cahill [and Cesc Fabregas].
"The transfer activities then improved and Antonio got the players that he wanted and he got a very good sequence of performances and results. They then lost to Manchester City which looks, in my opinion, like the best side in the Premier League this season.
"That result was also on the back of going to Madrid and beating Atletico in a very, very important match for the Champions League campaign. To sum it up, I think that Chelsea will do very, very well this season. I think that Antonio’s sides, whether it is Chelsea or Juventus, they always play with pride, real determination, real humility.
"They take every match very seriously, so they will be there or thereabouts. So maybe they will finish second but I think that Antonio, who has managed in the top division for four years in his career and won four titles, has demonstrated his ability to win the competitions.
"Maybe he might want to focus slightly more on becoming successful in Europe with Chelsea in the Champions League because with his own Champions League campaigns so far, I am sure he’s not entirely happy with the results.
"So maybe we will see Chelsea going very far in the Champions League this season."
Vialli won four cup competitions as a player-manager at Chelsea and made 58 league appearances. He remains in football working for Sky Italia but still lives in London and also works with an innovative football finance start up called Tifosy.