Despite the fact they still have seven games to play in the league and a realistic chance to put the FA Cup in the Stamford Bridge trophy cabinet, Chelsea’s season is firmly on course for underachievement.
The cost of failing to reach Champions League football for a second time in three seasons is yet to be calculated but looks a near-certainty as we come out of the Easter weekend.
It will certainly affect the club’s finances at a time they’re looking to develop Stamford Bridge and could also impact matters on the pitch with star players making for the exits and recruitment of new players and potentially a new manager also likely to be impacted.
The wobbling wheels of their bid to defend their Premier League title this season can be said to have finally fallen off at the turn of the year.
Having just convincingly beaten Stoke 5-0, Conte’s side have recorded only three more league wins from the 10 matches in 2018, half of these fixtures ending in defeat.
But what’s behind this drop-off in form that has threatened Chelsea’s position among the European elite?
#5 Poor recruitment
Antonio Conte has blamed a poor set of transfer windows for a lack of player depth in his squad at various points of this season. Yet despite the fifth-biggest net spend in the league this season, a figure minimised by sales which have recouped over £160 million, Chelsea have brought eight new players into the first team squad.
While many players require a settling-in period before hitting their peak with a new club, it’s significant that all of these signings have failed to deliver any major lift to the club.
With the quality of these signings being called into question, the blame for these transfer decisions is hidden somewhere within the inner workings of the club. Michael Emenalo has been made a scape-goat for this to some degree. However, it looks to be a systemic problem rather than one director’s ultimate responsibility.
As such, it remains to be seen whether the situation improves this summer following a lacklustre trading period in January.