Well well well, after just short of 12 months, Chelsea’s season has all but come to close, minus a small game against Bayern Munich next Saturday. It’s been a truly unforgettable season, with a three month hiatus between March and June, as well as the homecoming of Frank Lampard to Chelsea Football Club.
But without further ado, let’s guide our way through Chelsea’s 114th season as a football club.
The Premier League
From the moment Frank Lampard was confirmed as Chelsea’s manager on July 4th 2019, everybody associated with the club knew it would be a special season. Many were shocked Lampard took the job, with just one season under his belt in management the task he would be asked to perform was truly extraordinary.
A transfer ban lingered over the club and one of their greatest players, a certain Eden Hazard, had finally achieved his dream move over to sunny Spain and Real Madrid. Frank Lampard opted to try something different, a Chelsea squad once dominated by some of the best players in the world now looked ageing, and certainly not waterproof. Lampard’s answer to this was to finally utilise the clubs exceptional Cobham youth academy and promote them into the first team.
The season couldn’t have started much worse for Chelsea, a 4-0 thrashing away at Old Trafford against Manchester United had many thinking we would be in for a long season. Whilst some would’ve optimistically hoped for Top 4 going into the season, it now looked a long shot with even a place in the Europa League being tough to achieve.
A few days later in the Super Cup against Liverpool, we saw a little more about what this Chelsea side was about. Whilst Chelsea did eventually lose on penalties, they did look competitive and went toe-to-toe with arguably the best side in the world. The first game of the season at Stamford Bridge also didn’t provide Lampard with the fairytale return to Stamford Bridge he would’ve been looking for as Chelsea drew 1-1 with Leicester City, who would turn out to be one of their main rivals for a place amongst Europe’s elite.
One week later, Lampard got his first win. Against a confident looking Norwich City, it was Tammy Abraham who stole the headlines. After receiving some disgusting racist abuse after missing his penalty against Liverpool, Abraham silenced his critics with two excellently taken goals. A few weeks later, he bagged a further three goals against Wolves and finished the year with 15 goals in the Premier League. Whilst we’re not too sure what sort of role he will hold in the squad next year, Tammy can leave this season with his head held high after a fantastic debut season for Chelsea Football Club.
In total, Chelsea collected eight points from their opening five games. Not the worst haul in the world but not the numbers you would want to be achieving when aiming for a top 4 finish. A loss against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge did little to silence any Lampard doubters but the squad pulled together to collect 18 points from a possible 18 in the next six games with wins against Brighton, Southampton, Newcastle, Burnley, Watford and Crystal Palace. Chelsea then endured one of their toughest periods of the season, winning just one game in the next five. Chelsea then faced Tottenham Hotspur at their new stadium knowing that a loss would see them slip out of the Champions League spots. What followed was a Willian masterclass, who scored twice against the club whom had once tried to sign him.
Boxing day proved a difficult watch for Chelsea fans as they lost 2-0 to Southampton at Stamford Bridge. Up next was Arsenal away, despite being behind for the majority of the game, the team rallied in the final minutes and goals from Jorginho and Tammy Abraham secured a famous famous win for Chelsea. The team really struggled to gain any momentum in much of the rest of the season and were seemingly always clinging onto their Champions League spot. Despite having their transfer ban overturned, Chelsea opted not to strengthen their side whatsoever in the January Transfer Window. This was a huge gamble of course, but meant that if the side could secure Champions League Football then there would be some serious money spent.
One of the big talking points of the season would be the pausing of all football worldwide as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. No football was played for a total of 3 months and there was talk of the entire season being void. Football did finally return at the end of June and Chelsea picked up where they left off, beating Aston Villa in a tight game at Villa Park and then producing perhaps the performance of the season as they beat Manchester City 2-1 to hand Liverpool the Premier League title. Defeats to both West Ham and Sheffield United made the end of season slightly harder than Frank Lampard would’ve liked but a 2-0 home victory against Wolves on the final day of the season gave Chelsea their much needed 4th place finish, behind Manchester United on goal difference.
Nobody ever expected this side to really challenge in Europe this season, but Chelsea did manage a second place finish in their Champions League group behind Valencia. The difference between first and second ended up being a Ross Barkley missed penalty in the first game of the group against Valencia.
Their Round of 16 Tie brought them back to old enemies, Bayern Munich. Munich were keen to get revenge for their loss in the 2012 Final and they comfortably won 3-0 in the fixture at Stamford Bridge with the return leg next Saturday. With injuries to both Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta this game will surely be little more than a glorified friendly.
The Domestic Cups
The Blues were sent out of the Carabao cup by an absolutely stunning Marcus Rashford freekick at Stamford Bridge. It was in the FA Cup where a chance of silverware was most likely, Chelsea faced a tough run to the final as they knocked out Liverpool, Leicester City and Manchester United but the game was ultimately one too many for the side. Despite taking an early lead against Arsenal, the performance was pretty lacklustre and an appalling display of refereeing as well as two injuries ensured Chelsea had no chance of getting back into the game.
All in all, the 2019/2020 season has been one of huge positivity for Chelsea. This side is one that was completely written off by fans and neutrals alike and whilst they did come up short in the FA Cup Final, to get Top 4 represents a huge success for everybody involved in the club. Achieving Top 4 has ensured that Chelsea have a fantastic base to build on for next season as they look to well and truly cement their Champions League spot whilst also challenging for more silverware.
The signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech show this club truly is going in a fantastic direction and it’s encouraging to see such highly rated players believing in the project we have at this football club. It’s hard to pick a Player of the Year because so many players have been so good, but Mateo Kovačić probably takes the cake on this one. He’s played fantastic throughout the season and is looking like a bargain at just £40 million.
As far as Young Player of the Year goes, I think Mason Mount is more than deserving of this award having made the most appearance for the club and proving that the step up from the Championship to the Premier League wasn’t too big for him.
None of our success this season with the rebuild would’ve been possible without Frank Lampard at the helm. He’s enjoyed a fantastic debut season in charge at the club and the atmosphere has been fantastic throughout what was a very challenging time for the club and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this club and hugely promising manager and set of players.
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!