The blue confetti has been swept off the Wembley pitch and the euphoria of our FA Cup triumph has faded. While most of our players gear up for the World Cup the reality of the past season sets in. Fifth. A number that in Premier League terms rolls off the tongue bitterly. Consigned to Thursday night exile in the depths of Europe’s second tier.
Needless to say, our defence of our league crown was poor at best. The opening day defeat to Burnley set a dangerous president and established a worrying pattern that plagued our season. Missed chances upfront to kill the game followed by rookie errors in defence meant that despite some at times scintillating football, we were never in any shape to challenge the Manchester clubs.
Personally, I have no doubt that the recruitment in the summer laid the foundations for the poor season to follow. On paper the new boys looked good, Morata was a highly sought-after striker, one which promised a minimum of twenty goals a season. Bakayoko helped Monaco storm past the Europe elite in the Champions League and would add goals to the steel provided by Matic. Then we sold Matic. Not because he was unhappy or performing poorly, just because the offer was generous, but it was from Manchester United, how could we ever sell a player of Matic’s ability to a rival? Had Bakayoko even vaguely returned on his promised ability it would have eased the pain but he was without doubt the worst player to wear blue this season, even with an unfit and jaded Ross Barkley joining in January.
As the performances on the pitch floundered, so to did Antonio Conte’s enthusiasm. The manager seemed more interested in taking on his own board then addressing the glaring issues right under his nose. Perhaps he was proving a point, he should be the one choosing transfer targets, not some suit in an office. Whether he stays or goes seems to be entirely up to those suits and if a clear replacement becomes apparent. I would rather the fiery Italian stay at the Bridge, his talent is undeniable and I don’t think anyone currently available would be a sizable upgrade to warrant his departure. The fans love him and given the right players for next season I see no reason why we can’t at the very least return to the top four next season.
Unfortunately, uncertainty reigns supreme at the Bridge. A spat between the Russian and UK governments has seen Roman Abramovich barred from the country and with that a stoppage of our new stadium. Combine that with the lack of Champion’s League as well as the managers unknown future and the good ship Chelsea is in increasingly murky waters. How things play out in the next few months may go a long way as to how we fare not only next season but the next era in our history.
As fans, all we can do is keep the faith and keep that blue flag flying high!
Until next season, you can keep up to date with the latest at the FIFA World Cup right here on Forever Football!