Guus Hiddink won the FA Cup in his first spell at the club, but will an FA Cup triumph be a consolation to Chelsea fans this season?
Chelsea are enduring a campaign that the clubs hierarchy and fans will be in a hurry to forget.
The clubs only chance of silverware now lies in their FA Cup campaign, after the Blues suffered 2-1 defeat against PSG on Wednesday night in the Champions League last-16.
The defeat meant that the Blues exited the competition 4-2 on aggregate and were knocked out of Europe’s elite competition for a consecutive campaign by Laurent Blanc’s team.
Not much to play for this season
The Blues are currently putting all their eggs in an FA Cup shaped basket. Guus Hiddink’s side face a trip to Premier League rivals Everton on Saturday in the quarter-finals, in a game that the reigning Premier League champions are odds of 19/10 to win.
In truth this season has been highly disappointing for everybody connected with the club from south west London. The reigning champions are tenth in the Premier League table after a nightmare start to their title defence.
A top four finish now looks beyond Hiddink’s side, as they are ten points behind fourth place Manchester City in the table and the Citizens also have a game in-hand.
Their Champions League campaign once again ended at the last-16 stage for a second campaign, so this season could be regarded as a major write-off.
Just praying for the summer now
I would imagine Chelsea fans are wishing the rest of this current nightmare away. The start of the campaign saw the exit of a club legend in Jose Mourinho, which would have been hard to believe at the beginning of the campaign, but this has been a campaign of surprises.
It seems this summer will be one of transition, as Guus Hiddink described it. Obviously there will be a new manager in the Stamford Bridge dugout in the summer. That will mean new players arriving and having to settle in at the club.
With a number of the Blues players under-performing this season it would not be a major shock to see the next boss having a slight clear-out on his arrival. There are a number of players like Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic who have been shadows of their former selves this season.
Hazard has long been linked with a moves to Real Madrid and PSG, but his performances this season is unlikely to have impressed either club. Matic was regarded as the archetypal modern defensive midfielder last season, but this season he has not even been a regular for the Blues and he has at times been a liability.
Matic has not become a bad player overnight, so maybe a new boss can help him rediscover his top form next season, or maybe he will be sold.
Difficult quarter-final for the Blues
At the start of the campaign I am sure that Chelsea fans had bigger expectations than just attempting to win the FA Cup this season. No doubt the Blues were expecting another Premier League title challenge or victory.
The Blues were also expecting another tilt at the Champions League trophy this season. However, at the moment the FA Cup is Chelsea’s biggest or even only aim for the campaign.
A trip to Everton’s Goodison Park is not exactly an easy passage to the semi-finals of the cup either. The Toffees have endured an inconsistent campaign and their home form has been truly awful of late.
They do possess a potent attacking force though, which is spearheaded by Chelsea reject Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker has scored 23 goals this season in 35 appearances in all competitions this season.
The 22-year-old will certainly be a threat to a Chelsea defence that will be without Kurt Zouma and possibly also captain John Terry. Lukaku has been linked with a move back to Stamford Bridge in the summer and if Chelsea are to make the semi-finals he will need to be stopped.
Roberto Martinez’s side have been prolific this season in the Premier League and have already taken four points off the reigning Premier League champions. The Toffees boss is under immense pressure to deliver a trophy with his side under-achieving in the top-flight.
The FA Cup may well be the Spaniard’s salvation on Merseyside, if he can help the club to their first trophy in over twenty years.
Both these teams are in desperate need of a victory and both have underachieved this season. However it is the south west Blues who will be regarded as the biggest flops come the end of the season. It is just a matter of whether they end up with silverware or not to cap a poor campaign.
Will an FA Cup triumph be any consolation for Chelsea fans this season?