Chelsea 20/21 Season Review

A rollercoaster ride!

Overall – 

20/21

Won – 34 Drawn – 13 Lost – 12 

19/20 

Won – 29 Drawn – 8 Lost – 18

20/21

Scored – 99 Conceded – 43 Clean Sheets – 32 

19/20

Scored – 102 Conceded – 79 Clean Sheets – 13

When I wrote the review last season I said it was a season of progress for Chelsea. This season I would say we progressed by taking the biggest leap a European Football Club can take but we for sure took the scenic route. The season began on September 15th 2020 for Chelsea with Frank Lampard as our manager and an exciting expectation about the season. Chelsea’s season ended on May 29th 2021 winning the Champions League with Thomas Tuchel as our manager and an exciting expectation for next season. Over the course of this article we will look at each competition and see how the season went from high high’s to low lows and how Chelsea ended up winning the biggest prize in European football for the 2nd time. 

Premier League

Let’s look back to September of last year. The Euros had been cancelled but Chelsea bought really well during the summer and had one of the best windows ever. Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Edouard Mendy, and Kai Havertz all joined Chelsea for Lampard’s 2nd season in charge and it was going to be glorious. Chelsea’s Premier League campaign can be divided into 3 parts. The first period started in September with MW 1 and ended at the beginning of December with MW 11. In that period Chelsea played 11 games winning 6, drawing 4 and losing 1 in the process. We scored 23 goals and conceded 11 playing a 4-3-3 formation under Lampard. It was a solid period at the end of MW 11 we were 3rd 2 points off of league leaders Tottenham. Our highlight would have been that MW 11 game against Leeds at Stamford Bridge which also welcomed around 2000 fans to the stadium. We ran our socks off against Leeds out running Bielsa’s team and played really well all over the park. All 5 signings started that game and it was another check on Lampard’s list. It looked like there was clear improvement and as Chelsea fans everyone was very confident.

Then come’s the period from MW 12 to MW 19 where it felt like someone flipped a switch with the team. Chelsea played 8 games, winning 2, drawing 1, and losing 5; scoring 8, and conceding 12. Losses to Leicester, Man City, Arsenal, Everton and Wolves saw us drop down to 9th in the table 7 points from 4th. Then came the news that Lampard had been sacked by Chelsea. It was a complete shock to everyone. I still remember I was out having lunch and I just lost my appetite. There was confusion, anger, from fans as to why. We had been promised a project and sure the results had not been great over the last month but we were in it for the long run with Lamps. At the very least he deserved till the end of the season. A personal message from Abramovich stated that it was one of the hardest decisions he had to make. There was news about some key players isolated like Rudiger, and Azpilicueta while the declining form in front of goal of Werner etc was not ideal. So the next question was who’s next. There was really only one top manager available who had just been sacked by PSG and that man was Thomas Tuchel. 

Now before we talk about Tuchel’s first 4-5 months in charge of Chelsea I would like to say that he was at the bottom of my list when it came to Lampard replacements. The anger, and not really knowing Tuchel apart from the results with PSG and Dortmund from a distance meant that I didn’t really take him as serious manager and more of a nearly there. I am so happy to say that I was slapped in the face and put in my place by the German. From the first press conference when he was unveiled as the manager I felt like this was another manager I would fall in love with. Tuchel said that he would make Chelsea solid and hard to play against and a team that others feared and I can happily say he delivered and we aren’t even anywhere near the finished product. Tuchel’s first game came in MW 20 and over the next 19 games Chelsea won 11 games, drew 5, and lost 3. We secured 4th on the final day with 67 points and Champions League football with it. That would have been Tuchel’s main objective and he was able to get it done. In that period we beat Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool, Man City and Leicester scoring 8 and conceding 2. Overall we scored 25 and conceded 13. 

Now last season I compared Lampard’s first season to the ones that the likes of Klopp, Pep etc had. That was one full season though and comparing Tuchel’s 5 month period would be unfair. What we can do is compare what exactly was different between Chelsea under Lampard and Chelsea under Tuchel. Now during that first period and for most of the time under Lampard Chelsea had a more dynamic gung ho approach. You could win big but you could easily lose heavily. During the first 19 games we scored 3 or more goals 8 times. We also conceded 3 or more goals 4 times. Under Tuchel the goals did dry up as we scored 3 or more goals once in 19 games but we also conceded 3 or more goals once in 19 games which came against West Brom. What I feel hurt Lampard and led to him getting sacked was our dry spell and the fact that we didn’t switch it up at the back. Tuchel recognised that there was a dry spell and it continued on but we became one of the best defences in Europe and so even scoring 1 or 2 goals were enough. It was just evident that Chelsea were missing that touch up front. The club led the Premier League in terms of chances created since January. Defensively we were a massive improvement though really only behind City and we probably would have been better if Tuchel had been around for a season.

The main difference between Lampard and Tuchel was that when the going got tough Lampard’s inexperience showed. The isolation of key players and the lack of tactical knowledge needed to solve a tricky situation meant that we were hoping for a turn around in form rather than working on it. Now with more experience and growth I believe Lampard will reach new heights as a manager because getting top four last season was no small task and we did play really well up till December. Tuchel on the other hand showed his experience. Bringing back influential figures like Rudiger, Azpi, Alonso and making everyone feel like they had a place in the team. Tuchel gave everyone a chance in those opening few games. Finally the change in formation played to Chelsea’s strengths and our defensive solidity meant that we became a great team. The energy that the players displayed for many games during the 2nd half of the season and the willingness to press was very Germanesque. Of course we did pressing under Lampard as well but the positive results always help the team believe that they are gaining rewards for their hard work on the pitch. 

At the beginning of the season I predicted that Chelsea would finish 3rd and within single digits of the top 2. That did not pan out as we finished 19 points behind City and 7 points behind Manchester United. We also only managed a point more than we did last season. There is a big asterisk though and the change of managers meant that early season predictions at least those on the league were thrown out the door. Regardless of the finish Chelsea will be expected to challenge for the title next season and who knows if we can solve our patchy form during the holidays we can win the lot.

Champions League Winners

The crowning achievement of the season and one that made the rollercoaster ride worthwhile. At the beginning of the season I said that anything past the Quarter-Finals would be a bonus but what followed was fully deserved. It was a campaign of sustained success from the group stage to the final and for that both Lampard and Tuchel deserve credit. The group stage began with a 0-0 draw at home to Sevilla. What came next were wins against Krasnodar, twice against Stade Rennais, and a big win against Sevilla where Giroud scored all 4 goals in a 0-4 win. The final Champions League game under Lampard was a 1-1 draw against Krasnodar. A solid group stage which saw us improve under Lamps from last season. We scored 14 goals over 6 games and conceded 2 which was very very good. 

Lampard’s sacking in January meant that for the knockout stages we would have Tuchel in charge who himself was sacked at PSG after guiding them to the knockout stages. What followed under Tuchel will go down in history. We beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 over two legs in the Round of 16, out playing and out fighting Diego Simeone and his players. Next up was Porto in the Quarter-Finals who beat 2-1 on aggregate as we won the 1st leg but lost the 2nd leg to a wonder goal. Porto tried to play dirty but we fought it out. Real Madrid were next in the Semi-Finals and we beat them 3-1 on aggregate. A 1-1 draw in the 1st leg and a big 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge. 

We all know what happened on Saturday as Chelsea beat Manchester City in Porto 0-1 to become Champions of Europe for a 2nd time. It was a deserved win as Chelsea were once again the better team against Manchester City. 9 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss. 23 goals scored, 4 conceded!. To put that into context we conceded 16 goals last season as we were knocked out by Bayern in the Round of 16. 4 goals conceded also happens to be a new record for a CL winning team. We also kept 9 clean sheets in 13 games. For many in this team the Champions League is their first trophy at Chelsea and for many it’s their first senior trophy ever. It should be a major catalyst for what really is a new era at the club.

The main thing to take away from this CL win is the fact that unlike 2012 this time we deserved to win it. 2012 was a campaign against the odds, Chelsea were 2nd best in several games but we fought hard and at times rode our luck but we got the job done. It was special. This time we outplayed each team we should have scored way more goals and we deserved it over the course of the campaign. A 2nd Champions League really makes Chelsea a global force and puts any doubts of the colour of London to bed. London is Blue and for now Europe is Blue. 

FA Cup Final

We had another solid FA Cup campaign as we reached the final for a 2nd consecutive season. Wins against Morecambe, Luton, Barnsley, Sheffield United, and Manchester City saw us reach the final. We scored 11 goals and conceded 2 as we lost the final to Leicester at Wembley. We also kept 4 clean sheets over 6 games. Falling at the final hurdle for a 2nd time was tough but another learning experience and one that probably encouraged the players to get the job done in Porto. 

Carabao Cup 4th Round

Once again we were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the 4th round. We beat Barnsley 6-0 in the 3rd round but lost to Tottenham on penalties. 

It wasn’t a predictable season. So many ups and downs throughout. At the beginning of December Lampard was challenging for title with the club and in January he was sacked. Tuchel came in and Chelsea became a power house and won the Champions League. We conceded 4 goals in the entire CL campaign but conceded 8 to West Brom over two games. Supporting Chelsea is never boring but man it can be exhausting. Elation, to anger, to elation again are just some of the emotions I felt this season. So what’s next? Well it’s a summer break but not for the players as they have Euro 2020 to deal with. A couple of weeks break after that and Chelsea will be back in pre season. This squad doesn’t need another 7 players but 3-4 key players. Our forward players seemed to have lost their finishing en masse after December and we need to sign a forward hopefully Lukaku to be that consistent source up front. A defensive midfielder like Rice would be an amazing get as well. The rest Chelsea can sort out for themselves. This Chelsea team under Tuchel is ready to challenge next season and it’s going to be a big one. I expect the team and squad to challenge on all front’s and it has me very excited. For now though the Euros and an entertaining transfer window! COME ON CHELSEA!!!

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Summary 18/19

One hell of a year!

England

1. Man City – 
Premier League ChampsCarabao Cup Champs, FA Cup Champs, Champions League QF

5 games into the season City were 3rd with 13 points, 2 behind Chelsea, and Liverpool who had both won their opening 5 games. 10 games into the season City now led the table but were ahead only on goal difference as Liverpool also had 26 points. MW 15, City were still unbeaten and now had opened up a 2 point gap over Liverpool. City then went through a devastating 5 games of which they lost 3 as City fell into 2nd now 7 points behind Liverpool. The next 5 games City only lost 1 and a slump for Liverpool meant that City went back on top level on points with 62. City then won their next 5 games to open up a 1 point lead at the top. MW 35 and the one point lead remained as it was another 5 wins for City. City then won their final 3 games to seal the title a point ahead of Liverpool with 98 points on the board. City became the first team to retain the title since Ferguson’s United although unlike last year they were pushed until the final day. 

Trophy no.1 for City was the Carabao Cup. City beat Oxford United 0-3, Fulham 2-0, Leicester 1-3 on penalties, Burton 10-0 over two legs in the semis, and Chelsea 3-4 on penalties. Not the toughest of runs but Chelsea pushed them to the limit in the final. 

Trophy no.3 was the FA Cup which saw City get the domestic treble although Pep and co will say they completed the quadruple as they count the Community Shield. City beat Rotherham 7-0, Burnley 5-0, Newport County 1-4, Swansea 2-3, Brighton 1-0, and Watford 6-0 in the final. City’s close victories correlated with their poor form during the winter period but they comfortably won in the end. One of England’s best ever club sides? For sure.  

City lost to Spurs in the Quarter-finals of the Champions League on away goals as the aggregate was 4-3. For Pep and co this one trophy continues to allude them. 

2. Liverpool – 
Premier League Runners Up, Carabao Cup 3rd Round, FA Cup 3rd Round, Champions League Champs

Liverpool began the season winning their first 5 games as they sat 2nd. 5-10 saw them draw 2 but remain 2nd level on points with City at 26. 10-15 they drew 1 and so remained 2nd but 2 points behind City. 15-20 saw them win 5 and took them to 1st opening up a 7 point gap from City. 20-25 saw them only win 2 and so they dropped back into 2nd level on points with City at 62. 25-30 Liverpool won 3 and dropped a point behind City. The final 8 games Liverpool would win all 8 but so would City and so they missed the title by a 2 points because a point would have seen City win on goal difference. 

Liverpool lost in the 3rd Round of the Carabao Cup 1-2  to Chelsea. 

Liverpool lost in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup 2-1 to Wolves. 

Liverpool just about managed to get through their group on away goals as they went on to beat Bayern 1-3 in the Round of 16, Porto 1-6 over two legs in the quarters, Barcelona 4-3 over two legs in the semis, and Tottenham 0-2 in the final. After the Premier League heart break Klopp managed to win his first trophy at Liverpool and Liverpool won their first trophy since they won the League Cup in the 11/12 season. The final was anti-climatic but their 4-0 win over Barcelona in the 2nd leg will remain legendary. 

3. Chelsea –
Premier League 3rd, Carabao Cup Runners Up, FA Cup 5th Round, Europa League Champs

Sarri began his time at Chelsea brilliantly as won their first 5 games to sit top of the table with 15 points. 5-10 saw Chelsea win only 2 games and so dropped they dropped into 3rd with 24 points. 10-15 saw Chelsea win 2 and lose their first 2 games as Sarri and co dropped into 4th with 31 points. 15-20 saw Chelsea win 4 of their games and remain 4th with 43 points. 20-25 saw Chelsea win 2 and lose 2 once again as they remained 4th but now 7 points behind Spurs and 2 ahead of United. 25-30 saw Chelsea 3 and lose 1 and so Chelsea dropped into 6th, 4 points behind 3rd placed Spurs. 30-35 saw Chelsea win 3 and lose 1 again but due to teams around them Chelsea rose to 4th, 3 points behind Spurs. 35-38 Chelsea managed to finish 3rd, a point above Spurs. The start was great for Sarri, while a poor form at the beginning of 2019 cost Chelsea heavily. A stuttering finish to the season though meant that Chelsea finished 3rd best. 

Chelsea began their Carabao Cup journey by beating Liverpool 1-2 at Anfield. Chelsea then beat Derby 3-2, Bournemouth 1-0, and Spurs 4-2 on penalties in the 2nd leg after Kepa made some brilliant saves. Chelsea then lost the final to City 3-4 but only after they had pushed Pep and co to the limit for 120 minutes. 

Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. What followed was a 3-0 4th round win over Sheffield Wednesday, and then a 0-2 loss to United at Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea though ended the season with a trophy as they began their Europa League journey topping their group with 16 points. An 0-8 aggregate win over Dynamo Kyiv in the Round of 16 followed. Slavia Praha were beaten 5-3 on aggregate in the quarters, and Eintracht Frankfurt were beaten 4-3 on penalties in the semis, Kepa again was the hero. Chelsea then beat Arsenal 4-1 in the final to seal the deal. Chelsea had already sealed a place in next seasons champions league but the Europa League trophy was a good bonus and Spurs loss in the Champions League meant that Chelsea were still the best team in London. Chelsea now have the most trophies since the year 2000 than any other English team. 

4. Tottenham
Premier League 4th, Carabao Cup SF, FA Cup 4th Round, Champions League Runners Up

Spurs won 3 and lost 2 of their first 5 games in the league as they sat 6th in the table. 5-10 saw Spurs win 4 and lose 1 as they climbed into 5th. 10-15 saw Spurs win 4 and lose 1 again as they climbed into 3rd. 15-20 saw the same pattern as Spurs remained 3rd, two points behind City. 20-25 saw 4 wins and 1 loss again as Spurs opened a 7 point gap from 4th in 3rd. 25-30 saw 1 win and 3 losses as remained 3rd but only a point above 4th. 30-35 saw 3 wins and 2 losses as Spurs stayed at 3rd and 3 points clear of 4th. 35-38 saw 2 losses and a draw as Spurs ended the season 4th and typical Spurs fashion caused their own fall.

Tottenham started their League Cup journey with a 4-2 win on penalties against Watford. Spurs then beat West Ham 1-3, Arsenal 0-2, and then beat Chelsea 1-0 in the first leg of the semis but lost 4-2 on penalties in the 2nd. 

Tottenham beat Tranmere Roves 0-7 in the 3rd round of FA Cup and then lost 0-2 to Crystal Palace in the 4th round to get knocked out. 

Tottenham’s best part of the season came in the Champions League. Similar to Liverpool they just about got through their group thanks to goals scored. Tottenham then beat Dortmund 0-4 on aggregate in the Round of 16. Tottenham then beat City 1-0 in the 1st leg of the quarters and lost the 2nd leg 4-3 but went through on away goals. Tottenham then lost the first leg of the semis 0-1 to Ajax, but beat Ajax 2-3 in Amsterdam to again reach the final on away goals. Away goals could not help Spurs in the final as for one their is no such rule in the final and two they did not score any. Tottenham dominated the game but Liverpool won 0-2. Another trophy less season for Spurs but some good DVD moments. 

5. Arsenal
Premier League 5th, Carabao Cup QF, FA Cup 4th Round, Europa League Runners Up

Arsenal began the season with 2 losses and then 3 wins as they sat 7th in the table. 5-10 Arsenal won 4 and drew 1 to climb into 4th. 10-15 Arsenal won 2 and drew 3 to drop into 5th. 15-20 Arsenal won 2 and lost 2 to remain 5th. 20-25 Arsenal won 3 and lost 2 to drop into 6th. 25-30 Arsenal won 4 and drew 1 as they climbed back up to 4th. 30-35 Arsenal lost 3 and won 2 to drop into 5th. Arsenal lost 1 drew 1 and won 1 of their final 3 games to finish the league in 5th. Arsenal had the easiest run in of the teams fighting for the Champions League spots but with most of them away games it meant that they lost them and so Arsenal collapsed under the expectation.

Arsenal began their League Cup journey with a 3-1 win over Brentford. Arsenal then beat Blackpool 2-1, but lost to Spurs 0-2 at the Emirates. 

Arsenal faced Blackpool in the FA Cup as well as they beat them 0-3. Next up was United and the Red Devils beat Arsenal 1-3 at the Emirates a game most memorable for Lingard dancing on the pitch. 

Arsenal similar to Chelsea topped their Europa League group with 16 points. Arsenal then beat Rennes 4-3 on aggregate in the Round of 16. Napoli were beaten 0-3 on aggregate in the quarters, and Valencia 3-7 on aggregate in the semis. Momentum was on Arsenal’s side going into the final but after a decent first half Arsenal collapsed in the 2nd as they lost 4-1. A trophy less season for Emery and co as they look to improve in 19/20. Banter FC. 

6. Man United 
Premier League 6th, Carabao Cup 3rd Round, FA Cup QF, Champions League QF

Before the season started United and Mourinho were supposed to be the ones to push City and Liverpool in the title race. Things got off to a rocky start as United won 3 and lost 2 of their first 5 games to sit 8th. 5-10 United won 2 and lost 1 as they remained 8th. 10-15 saw United win 1 lose 1 and draw 3 as they stayed at 8th. Mourinho then suffered the sack soon after and Ole came in as interim manager. 15-20 United won 4 and lost 1 of their games to climb to 6th. 20-25 United won 4 and drew 1 as they climbed to 5th. 25-30 saw United win 3 and lose 1 as Ole was appointed the permanent manager United had got into the top four but dropped out to be 5th. 30-35 United won 2 and lost 3 as they fell into 6th. United then drew 2 and lost their final game as they ended the season 6th. As interim manager Ole did brilliantly but as soon as he was appointed the permanent manager things went south. 

United under Mourinho lost 7-8 on penalties to Lampard’s Derby County in the Carabao Cup 3rd round. 

United began their FA Cup journey with a 2-0 win against Reading, United beat Arsenal 1-3 next and then Chelsea 0-2. Those 2 wins came as Ole was the interim manager, once he was appointed permanently United lost 2-1 to Wolves. 

United finished 2nd in their group in the Champions League. United then lost to PSG 0-2 in the first leg of the Round of 16 but came back to beat PSG 1-3 in Paris as they progressed on away goals. Ole was then appointed the permanent manager and United lost to Barca 4-0 on aggregate in the quarters. A shameful season for United but hey Ole is at the wheel for next season, let’s see if he can repair the car or damage it further. 

Honorable Mentions – 
Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves came ready for the Premier League and achieved the name of top 6 killers during the season. Wolves began the season poorly but held City to a point at home as they were 9th. 5-10 saw Wolves take a point at Old Trafford, but mixed results elsewhere meant that they were 10th. 10-15 saw Wolves get a point at Arsenal, and a 2-1 win against Chelsea but the other results were poor and so they dropped into 12th. 15-20 saw Wolves beat Spurs 1-3 at Wembley and decent results elsewhere saw them climb up to 7th. 20-25 saw Wolves beat Leicester, West Ham, and Everton to solidify a place in 7th. 25-30 saw poor form but a draw at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea as Wolves remained 7th. 30-38 saw a 2-1 win against United and a 3-1 win against Arsenal as Wolves remained 7th but heavily influenced the top four race. To sum up thats 1 point against City over two games, 0 points over Liverpool but they did beat Liverpool in the FA Cup. 4 points against Chelsea, 3 points against Tottenham, 4 points against Arsenal, 4 points against United including beating them in the FA Cup as well. 

Wolves are going to be a dangerous team next season if they can figure out how to win against bottom 10 teams. Leicester, Watford, Newcastle, Everton, West Ham can be thrown into the mix as well. 

Italy

Juventus won Serie A by 11 points at the seasons end but they failed to win any of their last 5 games and were knocked out of the Coppa Italia and Champions League and so Allegri decided to call time on his stay at Juventus. Napoli finished 2nd but went trophy less, while Atalanta got into the Champions League for the first time in 3rd with Inter in 4th. Milan and Roma will play in the Europa League. Lazio won the Coppa Italia. 

Spain 

Barcelona won La Liga by 11 points but that was it as they lost the Copa Del Rey and were knocked out in devastating fashion by Liverpool in the Champions League. Atletico finished 2nd, Real Madrid finished 3rd in what was a horrible season for them as they saw Zidane come back. Valencia finished 4th. Getafe, Sevilla, and Espanyol should be in the Europa League. Valencia also won the Copa Del Rey as they beat Barcelona in the final.

Germany

Bayern won the Bundesliga by 2 points as Dortmund suffered a horrible 2nd half to their season which saw them lose several games. Dortmund finished 2nd, Leipzig 3d, and Leverkusen 4th. Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg, and Frankfurt should be in the Europa League. Bayern also won the DFB Pokal as they beat Leipzig 0-3 in the final. This season also saw the likes of Robben, and Ribery say farewell to Bayern. 

France

PSG won Ligue 1 by 16 points as they romped to another title, PSG though failed in Europe and failed to win the Coupe de France as it was useless season in the end. Lille finished 2nd and got Champions League football after several years, while Lyon finished 3rd and thanks to Chelsea’s Europa League win automatically qualify for the Champions League. St.Etienne will play Europa League football as they finished 4th. Monaco finished 17th as they suffered a horrible season and will hope to have a better one next year. Stade Rennais won the Coupe de France by beating PSG in the final. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chelsea 0 (3) vs. (4) 0 Man City Carabao Cup Final Review

A brilliant performance overshadowed by a moment of stupidity.

Chelsea perhaps put in their best tactical performance of the season as they lost in penalties to City in the final of the League Cup. This game came with lots of pressure as Chelsea had only lost to City 6-0 2 weeks ago, and the added cloud of Sarri’s future. Sarri chose a false 9 formation similar to the one that saw us beat City in December. Kepa returned in goal with Azpi, Rudiger, Luiz, and Emerson starting in defence. Emerson’s inclusion was particularly inspiring as Alonso was no where to be seen. Jorginho, Kante and Barkley start in the midfield while Willian, Hazard, and Pedro started up front. From the get go Chelsea were inspired as they were happy for City to keep the ball and we blocked every possible channel that the players tried to find. Our pressing forced the City players wide and their crosses into the box were easily dealt by Rudiger and Luiz.

The 2nd half saw more of the same although this time Chelsea started to add the pressure as we created chances on the counter. Sarri made his first substitution in the 79th minute as Hudson-Odoi came on for Pedro. CHO added more energy to the right hand side as he ran at Zinchenko and drew several fouls. Sarri then brought on Loftus-Cheek for Barkley and the affect was again positive as RLC added physicality and pace to the midfield which was capped off by a brilliant flick and turn which then saw Hazard through on goal. Unlike Kane’s similar chance the referee called offside prematurely and VAR was not brought into play. The game then went into extra time and Higuain came on for Willian. Higuain linked up well the CHO and Hazard as the momentum was clearly in Chelsea’s favour. Though the final moments of extra time saw the weirdest moment in football I have seen. Kepa had been playing well but seemed to be suffering from cramps and so Sarri chose to bring Caballero on because of that. Kepa was saying he was fine but Sarri and Zola had made the decision and his name was up on the board, Kepa though refused to go off the pitch. Sarri and Zola lost it as Kepa continued to refuse and that saw Sarri almost leave the pitch in rage. Caballero had to be consoled and as he probably felt disrespected. Kepa stayed on and Chelsea took the first penalty. Jorginho stepped up but Ederson had done his homework and did not fall for the Italians skipping trick. Gundogan converted, followed by Azpi, who was followed by Aguero, who was followed by Emerson. Sane stepped up and Kepa saved his penalty as Chelsea were level again. Luiz though hit the post and Bernardo Silva converted his penalty. Hazard gave Chelsea a chance after converting his penalty but Sterling scored and so City won. 

Post match the questions were all about the Kepa incident and Sarri stated that it was a misunderstanding and that he thought that Kepa was not fit. Sarri did say that the manner in which Kepa conducted himself was wrong and he would talk to him. In my opinion I get that Kepa is young and passionate but if your number is up you leave the pitch you do not disrespect the manager or your other goalkeeper. Caballero was the City goalkeeper in 2016 and for all we know he could have saved his ex teammates penalties especially the Aguero one. Kepa should be talked to and maybe dropped for a game even though it is Spurs next it is a lesson he has to learn. All that is ifs and buts and it was a highly annoying moment in what was an amazing performance by the squad. Sarri was tactically flexible, he made all the right substitutions and if anything this game showed why he should stay and be given a chance to build at this club. 

Player Review

  • Kepa – Was really good throughout the game but his antics at the end might have dented his image momentarily. A great young goalkeeper but he needs to learn from this. 
  • Azpilicueta – Much better at marking Sterling in this game and a great performance over all. I do bring into question his role in the Kepa situation because he was the captain and he did not react in anyway, post match he said it was nothing and that is not how a captain should behave. Terry would have dragged Kepa off. 
  • Rudiger – A solid performance at the back as he defended extremely well. Took risks in defence and made fouls when it was necessary. 
  • Luiz – A great performance as he was solid at the back and made some brilliant passes especially one to Kante in the first half. Much more of a leader figure than Azpi. 
  • Emerson – His best performance in a Chelsea shirt and Sarri seems to be seeing the light as he started such an important game. It seems to be curtains on Alonso’s starting spot in the team. 
  • Jorginho – Jorginho replied extremely well to the boos he faced against Malmo as he was physical and dominant in midfield alongside Kante. Jorginho did miss the penalty but it is a lucky draw at the end of the day. 
  • Kante – In a game where any player could have been man of the match he was above the rest as he literally covered every blade of grass. Defended at the back added attacking threat upfront and seriously if anyone says he is a DM they should be banned from football. Kante can play anywhere. 
  • Barkley – Barkley did the simple stuff well and showed a lot of determination but he broke down play too often. 
  • Pedro – Covered the flanks well and pressed the City players. 
  • Hazard – Brilliant, Hazard was given no easy task playing as false 9 and it was a frustrating position for him but he showed great professionalism and even helped out at the back. 
  • Willian – Did Pedro’s job on the other side and played well but was seen smiling and laughing with Pep right after the final whistle and thats not something I want to see right after a final. 
  • Hudson-Odoi – Great when he came on he provided a direct threat to City which was proved as they marked him very tightly. 
  • Loftus-Cheek – RLC showed that when fit he should start first a great cameo and that flick was filthy. Should start against Spurs. 
  • Higuain – Linked up well with CHO and Hazard and should br crucial in the coming games. 

Kepagate as reporters are calling it might have overshadowed a great performance by Chelsea but the players, fans and reporters have not time to dwell on it as Spurs travel to the Bridge in the Premier League on Wednesday. We still need to finish in the top four and we are still in the Europa League. If we play with the same determination that we played with yesterday we could reach all our goals for the season and keep Sarri. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!

Chelsea (0) vs. (1) Tottenham Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg Preview

We have to win this!

Since the loss to Arsenal at the weekend much has been said by the likes of the media and Chelsea in regards to what Chelsea can achieve this season. From Sarri questioning the mentality of the players to the media deciding that he is going to get sacked to Higuain finally signing for Chelsea but not being able to play in the semi final, lots of things have happened. With all this in mind Chelsea now go into their Carabao Cup semi-final 2nd leg against rivals Tottenham who have a 1 goal lead thanks to a Harry Kane penalty. Chelsea were awful in the first half of the 1st leg but the 2nd half was dominated by the blues although we lacked a killer instinct upfront and so could not capitalise on the chances we created. Tottenham have since lost to United and beat Fulham and have also lost Kane, and Alli to injuries and Son to the Asian Games. Tottenham are by far no weak team and I am not saying this should be a cake walk but if there was a time to bounce back from a poor result it would be now against or local rivals in a semi-final and a chance to play City in the final. 

The lineup’s of either team will tell a lot and if Chelsea start with the likes of Alonso, and Willian on the pitch and Hazard as false 9, I can tell you the fan base won’t be happy and that would be the equivalent of having Kane, Alli, and Son on the pitch. Sarri was asked pre-match whether his comments had put him at odds with his players and he replied by saying that to improve as a team they had to acknowledge their faults and weaknesses. Sarri also took responsibility himself and stated that the mentality should also come from the manager. When asked about Hazard’s comments Sarri stated that, Hazard needed to improve because his potential is so high compared to his current level and he is letting himself down by not reaching it. I would have to agree there is only so much a manager can do to improve a player’s mentality and if Hazard himself is laid back about its out of Sarri’s hands. Sarri stated that at the current moment there are potential leaders in Azpi, and Luiz but Hazard is not a leader but more of an individual. Sarri stated that because Hazard likes to roam around on the pitch he is forced to organise the rest of the 10 players. Hazard might be in his final few months as a Chelsea player and if so then he should give it his best and make it memorable. Hazard needs to decide whether he wants to stay or leave and stick to it. This is a must win game Sarri and Poch are both after winning their first trophy as a manager although Poch has been at Spurs for a fair few seasons. It is a must win game for Chelsea and we have to reach the final there is no other option. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Sarri has no injury concerns as RLC remains the only player out. Christensen not returning to the bench after leaving it was questioned by the press but Sarri stated that Christensen is always nervous on matchday’s and so he was just worried for his health. As far as the lineup is concerned Emerson, CHO, and Giroud have to start. Hazard cannot start as a false 9 and Alonso and Willian cannot be on the pitch. It is debatable whether Christensen, Rudiger, or Luiz will start but if someone were to get a rest I would prefer Rudiger because Luiz is a greater threat going forward. Higuain did not make the deadline and so a game against Sheffield Wednesday looks more of a possibility. 

Tottenham Team Preview

Tottenham are heading into the game without Kane, Son, and Alli. Moura, and Sissoko might be back although to push them into a starting position would be a risk. Llorente should start alongside Lamela, and Erisken. Spurs have a lead and can afford to play on the counter in this game.

Starting XI Predicition

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Under the lights, a semi-final at Stamford Bridge needing a comeback to reach the final, it’s a made for Chelsea condition. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Chelsea 3 vs. 2 Derby County League Cup Round of 16 Review

That was close!

Chelsea had an uncharacteristically shaky performance at Stamford Bridge in the round of 16 as Lampard’s derby caused several problems to Sarri and his men. Sarri selected the normal rotated starting XI but Barkley remained on the bench and Morata was preferred up front to partner Loftus-Cheek and Willian. Hudson-Odoi remained on the bench. All the goals came in the first half as Tomori fumbled the ball into his own net to give Chelsea the lead in the 5th minute but Marriott scored four minutes later after Cahill made some errors in quick succession. Keogh then scored another own goal to restore Chelsea’s lead in the 21st minute but Waghorn equalised for Derby in the 27th minute via some brilliant counter-attacking play. Fabregas then scored what turned out to be the winner in the 41st minute. The second half saw chances on both sides but decent saves were made to keep the scoreline at 3-2. Lampard lost the game but Derby gave more than a good performance and will take encouragement from that. Lampard proved that he is a good manager in the making and the tactic of nullifying Fabregas so that Cahill and Christensen would have to play the balls was brilliant. Dq3gv2kWwAAuMrD (1)

Team wise Caballero was decent, the defence was all over the place with Zappacosta and Emerson providing decent attacking threat but panic in defence while Cahill, and Christensen were really poor with Christensen being subbed for Luiz in the second half. The midfield was decent as Fabregas once again proved a good substitute for Jorginho while Kante was his brilliant self, Kovacic was good in his general play but needs to improve his shots. Willian was decent and Loftus-Cheek played out of position on the right wing but still gave a good account of himself. Morata was decent but had no real impact. Pedro, Luiz, and Azpilicueta were all brought on during the latter stages to see out progression to the next round. 

The game was not Chelsea’s best performance by far but the players got the job done and that means that Chelsea progress to the quarters as Bournemouth visit us for that game. On to the Premier League at the weekend and keeping pace at the top of the table. COME ON YOU BLUES!!

Chelsea vs. Derby County League Cup Round of 16 Preview

Lampard returns to Stamford Bridge!

Chelsea’s midweek game comes against Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the League Cup. Frank Lampard took charge of Derby in the summer and brought in Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori on loan from Chelsea. Derby sit 6th in the league having won 7 lost 4 and drawn 4. Lampard’s assistant manager is Jody Morris another Chelsea alum and together they have implemented an impressive philosophy of attacking football at Derby County. Mount has been a standout performer scoring five goals during the season while other loanees such as Harry Wilson and Tomori have also impressed. 

For Chelsea it is another chance to rotate their squad and another chance for Sarri to give game time to fringe players. Chelsea have been impressive and while it might be a close game we should progress to the next round. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Hazard and Ampadu remain but the rest of the squad is available for selection. 

Derby County Team Preview

Mason Mount remains a doubt as he suffered an ankle injury but Derby are hopeful that he will be available for selection.

Starting XI Prediction

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It is great that Frank Lampard is coming back but on the pitch there should be only one winner and that is Chelsea. COME ON YOU BLUES

Liverpool 1 vs. 2 Chelsea League Cup 3rd Round Review

Hazard is the best player in the Premier League!

What a game! It was one that had its ups and downs and showed several different phases of Chelsea’s play, though in the end a moment of pure magic from Hazard was the deciding factor. The lineups saw 8 changes on both sides as Milner and Mané were the only two players to remain from Liverpool’s starting XI at the weekend. The players that remained for Chelsea were Kovacic and Azpilicueta while players like Emerson and Cahill, and Caballero got their first starts this season.

Chelsea were the better side in the opening 20 minutes of the first half as we created a few chances and had shots on target. As the game went by Liverpool began to get into their flow and created a couple of their own chances which required Caballero to make some good saves. The second half started with Liverpool dominating the play as they finally began to press the ball and panic Chelsea players into giving away possession. A similar loss in possession saw Mané shoot on goal and the rebound was acrobatically scored by Sturridge in the 58th minute. Hazard and been brought on a couple of minutes earlier for Willian, Kanté came on for Kovacic, and Luiz came on for Christensen who seemed to have strained a muscle in a challenge. Emerson got the equalising goal in the 79th minute after a Hazard free kick was headed onto goal by Barkley who’s deflection was tapped in by Emerson. The goal was referred to VAR but the decision remained. The 85th minute saw the moment of brilliance as Hazard on the right dribbled past Keita and then nutmegged Moreno to blast his shot past Mignolet, the Liverpool fans finally witnessed a proper Puskas worthy goal. Chelsea saw out the remaining minutes to progress to the fourth round of the League Cup and end Liverpool’s winning start to the season. 

Player wise Caballero was great making several saves to keep Chelsea in the game. Azpilicueta was uncharacteristically shaky at times, Christensen had a decent game but was prone to a momentary lapse in concentration, Cahill was solid and if this was one of his last games for the club it was memorable one, Emerson got the goal and was decent going forward but faced problems in defence although it was his first game of the season. Fabregas was brilliant in the first half fitting in perfectly in the Regista role and proving to people that he can be an able deputy for Jorginho. Kovacic was decent but lacked fitness while Barkley played well in the first half but could not deal with the Liverpool press in the second half. Willian was decent but started to play poorly as the game progressed, Moses was good all game, and Morata was poor once more as this confidence thing really seems to be a problem for him. Hazard was amazing when he came on, Kante provided energy in the midfield, while Luiz was solid for the minutes that he played.

A good win for Chelsea going into the weekend game against Liverpool once again although this time it’s at the Bridge. Liverpool will be a different beast altogether for that game while Chelsea will also have a different set of players on the pitch. Hopefully it is a similar result and we can get three points. C’mon CHELSEA!!!

 

 

Liverpool vs. Chelsea League Cup 3rd Round Preview

Biggest test of the season and a chance for rotation. 

Chelsea play Liverpool at Anfield in the League Cup third round tonight. It is probably the highlight fixture of the round and one of the teams will not progress further in this competition. 

Our last game against West Ham perhaps showcased the areas at which we need to work on. Despite the possession and number of shots we did not convert those to shots on goal and it meant that we did not score any goals. The defence still remains a problem and improvement is needed. This game will hopefully involve more rotation than the one against PAOK. Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi and Emerson should be given a chance to impress Sarri, and there is no bigger challenge than playing Liverpool at Anfield. 

Liverpool have taken this season by storm winning 6 out of 6 in the league and defeating PSG at Anfield in the Champions League. Goal scoring wise they have been decent but it is the defence where they have improved the most with Van Dijk and Gomez forming a formidable partnership. Alisson has been a huge upgrade from the likes of Mignolet but Mignolet will mostly start this game as we should expect a second string Liverpool side for this game. With both these teams set to play at the weekend as well we should expect changed sides but no drop in intensity.

Chelsea Team Preview

Rotation should be a priority with Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi, Christensen, Emerson hopefully starting the game. Loftus-Cheek, and Rudiger might miss out due to mild injuries. Hazard is in the match day squad and might start the game. 

Liverpool Team Preview

Klopp is also expected to rotate the team but has promised that there will not be eleven changes made to the team. Mignolet should start but some player might keep their place. 

Starting XI Prediction

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An interesting game and one that should consist of goals. It it not the end of the world if Chelsea lose this as it is a pretty tough fixture but we like winning when people least expect it. C’MON CHELSEA!!!!