Sunday, May 26, 2019

Chelsea’s season has not been an awful one after all

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 6 May 2019

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Despite all the recent talk of Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri leaving the club, the Blues have already confirmed a Champions League spot for next season. The team from south west London are also just a few games away from winning the Europa League.

At the start of the campaign would Blues fans have taken their current situation? I believe that most would, as they do not currently really have a team capable of mounting a title challenge. The fact that Liverpool and Manchester City have been in such formidable form in the top-flight, finishing third in the table would be a decent result, even if it by default due to their rival’s poor form.

Top-four had to be Chelsea’s objective

In realistic terms, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri’s prime objective must have been a return to the top-four. The Blues have achieved that and could well end the season by winning the Europa League.

What more could the Blues have really achieved this season? The Chelsea boss has received a lot of stick and the Italian’s future has been in big doubt in recent months. However, even Chelsea’s trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich would have trouble justifying sacking Sarri for achieving the club’s objectives.

A difficult summer for the Blues

If the Blues current two-window transfer ban sticks, then Chelsea could be in for a difficult summer. The team have scraped a top-three position. However, they could struggle to finish in the same position next season with their top six rivals set to strengthen this summer.

Even the likes of Wolves and Everton just below could strengthen and threaten the current status quo in the Premier League. The current Chelsea squad needs improving and the fact they cannot currently bring in any fresh faces may mean the Blues will in for a long campaign next season.

What adds to the worry over a potential transfer ban is that star forward Eden Hazard looks destined to leave the Blues this summer. Reportedly Hazard remains top of Real Madrid’s summer shopping list.

With the Blues unlikely to challenge for the big trophies any time soon, and Hazard’s contract up next summer, a move to the Spanish capital seems highly likely. Losing a player of Hazard influence and quality would have a major effect on the Blues, especially as they will be unable to sign a replacement.

Chelsea are not a one-man team. However, Hazard is the sort of special player who can be a match-winner. The Blues do not have many of those players in their squad.

Europa League win be a bonus

In terms of success, Chelsea and Sarri have already achieved their objective of top four finish. Winning the Europa League would be a bonus for the Blues, especially for a team that has struggled for consistency this season.

The Blues face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday night. Chelsea are odds of 4/11 to beat Frankfurt to make the final of the competition. They would still have to beat either London rivals Arsenal or Valencia in the final to lift the trophy. However, the Blues are the favourites to win the competition.

A few months ago, it seemed highly unlikely that Maurizio Sarri would be the Chelsea boss beyond this season. Somehow though, the Italians team has secured a top-four finish and look set for the final of a European competition, despite a rollercoaster of a season.

Sarri may just have earned himself some more time at the helm of the Blues, which may well prove good for the continuity of the London club, in spite of some fan’s opinion of his style of play.

Has this season been a successful one for Chelsea?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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