Chelsea: Relearning to Play Football
Last year, the first big news in the Premier League was the fact that none other than Chelsea completely forgot how to play football, even though they started the season as the defending champions. Their victory-free pre-season plus the Community Shield loss to Arsenal were hinting at a disaster, and yet it still came as a huge shock.
Starting with the 2:2 draw against Swansea City, the Blues entered the Premier League 15/16, proceeding to win three, draw three, and lose nine out of the sixteen first matches. After that, on 17th of December, José Mourinho was sacked to many observers’ delight and in came Guus Hiddink to save the day yet again, just like he did back in the season of 08/09.
While it would sound hardly believable in theory, after he was appointed Chelsea went on to have a loss-free streak of no less than 15 games. Granted, only seven out of those were victories, but it was a stark improvement that not even the biggest fans of Mourinho could deny. However, it came to an end on April 9th after the 0:1 loss to Swansea City, after which the Blues ended the season rather sadly, only managing one win out of the seven final games.
Even though Chelsea managed to start appearing at the very least half-alive in the middle of the season, they still finished at the 10th place with just 50 points, which is 31 less than Leicester and 16 less than Man City, who got the last top 4 spot. They also got kicked out of Champions League at Round of 16 – and due to their horrid run last year, we will not see them in the current season.
However, despite all of the shortcomings that the team went through, this time around they look much better and out of the four weeks of Premier League, Chelsea already managed three victories. Then, came the Swansea match that they drew – and this opponent seemed to be the bearer of bad news the last season. The Blues started their infamous run with a draw against them, and after the loss-free streak that Guus inspired, they declined again after playing their 2nd game against the Swans.
Of course, it may be a bit early to get excited: Chelsea has only won against West Ham, Watford, and Burnley FC. The big teams are yet to come, and the first of them is going to be Liverpool in the Week 5 game – now that‘s a much tougher nut to crack. Is the new manager Antonio Conte up for this task? The team did much better during the pre-season games with him in charge, that‘s for sure.
Even though we‘ve seen a few transfers and newcomers right now which could explain why Chelsea is doing way better now, that would still fail to explain why the team picked up like they did when Guus Hiddink took over. Now José Mourinho did not get where he is by being a bad coach – but perhaps he was simply a bad fit for the Blues.
Was last year a fluke? Or maybe a tiny blip of an alternate timeline where Chelsea can’t play football? It was certainly one of the two big things that happened last season, the other obviously being Leicester’s dark horse triumph. The Foxes were as brilliant as the Blues were miserable – and it looks like tables have turned this year. According to the TonyBet bookies, Chelsea has the second best odds to win Premier League again – so let‘s hope that the brilliant start is a hint of what‘s yet to come.