The Blues entered 2017-18 as the defending champions with a new-look squad and high hopes. Those hopes were crushed quickly as Chelsea floundered in their title-defense once again.
Chelsea Season Review
The Blues title-defense began with a shaky 3-2 loss to Burnley at Stamford Bridge. Conte quickly had his men regain form with only three defeats in the next 23 games. The Blues looked prime for a top-three finish and to go back to the Champions League. From January 31st to March 4th, they lost four of the five games they played in that time-span to crush those hopes and dreams.
This run caused the Blues to drop to fourth and to their season finishing position of fifth. Chelsea will return to the Europa League after dropping points to Bournemouth, Watford, West Ham, and Newcastle. In other competitions, Chelsea got axed by Barcelona again in the Champions League, lost to Arsenal in the EFL Cup semifinals, and will play Man United for the FA Cup crown on Saturday.
Biggest Win: 1-0 vs. Man United (November 5th)
Back in November, Antonio Conte’s job seemed secure after his side got a big 1-0 win against Manchester United in Stamford Bridge. The win was a third straight for Chelsea and helped them stay in 3rd for almost three consecutive months.
Alvaro Morata’s winner was enough to take down former manager Jose Mourinho and former central midfielder Nemanja Matic. Still confused why Matic was given to United.
Heaviest Defeat: 3-0 at Newcastle (May 13th)
Chelsea had one last chance to make the Champions League and leave Liverpool in the dust of fifth-place. It was a long shot, but Chelsea needed three points on the final day. Newcastle shredded them to end the season and handed Conte his worst defeat in three months.
The loss made the hot seat under Conte like a smoldering fire and gave Chelsea fans a bitter taste in their mouths to end the Premier League season.
Best Player: Marcos Alonso
After a moderate season last year, Marcos Alonso really stepped it up and was Chelsea’s best player this season. N’Golo Kante, Willian, and Eden Hazard were close, but Alonso was able to do something special in many big games. I felt his performances stuck out more for a longer time in the course of the season. He helped make Conte’s system look plausible at times.
Worst Player: Tiemoue Bakayoko
Tiemoue Bakayoko was by far the most criticized Chelsea player all season. With Matic’s performances for Manchester United, most football fans just didn’t get the logic of selling an experienced guy like Matic for a sub-par player in Bakayoko. He was not able to adjust to Premier League life at all this season. Give him a year and he can improve.
Bakayoko’s season mirrored the one his team had. Inconsistent performances from new ideas and new players. The experiments didn’t work.