In the past year, Chelsea fans have been gifted hopes and dreams. Their transfer ban came to an end, and Roman Abramovich got his wallet out and spent over £200m.
But how has this worked out? Let’s take a look at Chelsea in 2020.
Best Player – Olivier Giroud
Choosing a player of the year for Chelsea was difficult: the likes of Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic were magnificent towards the end of the 2019/20 season, but have started the new campaign slowly. Meanwhile, their best performers from this term, such as Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell, only arrived in the summer.
One man who has consistently produced the goods for the Blues, however, is French striker Olivier Giroud.
The World Cup winner has come under fire throughout his career in England, but in 2020 he proved his worth with 18 goals. His run of eight goals in the final 12 outings of the season was crucial to Chelsea’s Champions League qualification, and he has since helped them reach the knockout stages with five strikes.
Despite his age, the 34-year-old still has plenty left to offer.
Best Game – Chelsea 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
At the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign, not much was expected of Chelsea. Star man Eden Hazard had departed for Real Madrid, new manager Frank Lampard was highly unproven at the top level, and the only new arrivals were returning loanees and Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic.
However, the South-West Londoners managed to round off a strong campaign with a top four spot – a feat that was sealed on the final day with a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Two first half injury time strikes secured Champions League qualification for Lampard’s men. First, it was Mason Mount with a beauty of a free kick, followed by a finish from Olivier Giroud.
Worst Game – Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
Chelsea went into the FA Cup final as strong favourites, looking for revenge after their defeat in the 2017 final. And, when Christian Pulisic put his side ahead in the fifth minute, everything seemed to be going according to plan.
However, Arsenal managed to turn things around, and it’s largely down to a stellar performance by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabonese forward levelled the scores from the penalty spot having been brought down by Cesar Azpilicueta. Then, in the second half, Aubameyang notched again, turning past Kurt Zouma before delightfully lifting over Willy Caballero with his weaker left foot.
Chelsea’s misery was compounded by a second yellow card for Mateo Kovacic, and Arsenal held out to lift the trophy.
It was an exciting summer of business for Chelsea fans, who got to see no fewer than seven players come through the door at Stamford Bridge. The heavy spending prompted many fans and pundits to tip Chelsea for the Premier League title.
In reality, they’ve had highly mixed success with their buys. Ben Chilwell has made a very strong start to life in a Chelsea shirt, while Thiago Silva has looked every bit the world class centre-back he has been over the past decade. Edouard Mendy has also been promising, and seems to be a huge upgrade on Kepa Arrizabalaga.
On the other hand, there has been little to justify the price tags paid for German duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Werner has often looked bright while lacking composure in front of goal, while Havertz appears completely lost. Hakim Ziyech has also shown flashes of what he can do without consistently producing the goods.
To be fair, it can take time for a player to settle into a new club, especially if they’re completely new to the country. However, the early signs aren’t encouraging.
How Has the Manager Done?
One of social media’s most divisive questions: how has Frank Lampard done as manager of Chelsea Football Club?
To secure top four while under a transfer embargo is an achievement that cannot be brushed aside. Not many expected Chelsea to maintain a top four challenge, so Lampard has to get credit for that.
And, as recently as early December, the Blues were keeping up a title charge, residing at the top of the table after defeating Leeds United 3-1.
However, at the time of writing, Lampard’s men look to be completely out of the title race, sitting seven points off the summit having played a game more than their rivals. Furthermore, the FA Cup final defeat against a fairly weak Arsenal cannot be ignored.
All things considered, it’s been a mixed year for Lampard. However, he will continue to feel the heat if he doesn’t turn around their current run of form.
On the whole, it’s been a decent year for Chelsea, but there will be some frustration among their fans.
When there was little expectation around them, they managed to pull off some positive results, and sealed qualification for the Champions League.
However, after last summer’s cash injection, they have failed to push on and compete for the title. Additionally, the FA Cup final defeat will continue to hurt.
If Lampard can get the likes of Werner and Havertz performing, then they may still have a chance of challenging for the crown. However, this will have to happen sooner rather than later, because they’re running out of time.