Chelsea suffered their sixth defeat of the Premier League season when they lost to Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday evening (May 1). For Everton, it was a brilliant three points, but Chelsea had only themselves to blame for the loss. Thomas Tuchel went straight down the tunnel at full-time with the same script of wasted chances and mistakes repeating itself.
A season that began so strongly for Chelsea has faded away, and now fans are hoping that the season can come to a quick end. Below are five reasons why the team has struggled this season and why there is still hope for a positive future.
If everything mentioned above wasn't enough for Tuchel, Chelsea were sanctioned in March due to Russia invading Ukraine. Club owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned due to his alleged links to Russia. The club were put under restrictions by the British government.
The club shop has been closed, the team can't buy new kits, players can't extend or renew contracts, and only 20,000 fans are allowed at home. Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger will leave the club as a result. The decision has also crippled plans for next season. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Todd Boehly was announced as the preferred bidder and should become the owner in a few weeks, according to The Telegraph. It will bring much-needed change to the club and allow it to function as a footballing institution once again. Being run as a billionaire's toy was all well and good, but Liverpool and Manchester City operate as sustainable machines, and it is time Chelsea changed their ways.
#4 Injuries And Player Exhaustion
The system that Tuchel plays is built around the use of wing-backs. Chelsea lost a crucial cog when Ben Chilwell was injured in a Champions League group stage tie against Juventus last year. It was a major blow, one that the club failed to solve in the winter transfer window. Kenedy was brought back from loan and has barely featured.
The team also played the most games from November to March, a total of 33 games across five competitions. During this period, several teams managed to get a break for a week or two due to finding loopholes in the COVID rules. The club were given no consideration and were forced to play every single game. The fact that only three substitutions were allowed meant that the players were left exhausted.
The exhaustion led to injuries, and at times Tuchel had Mateo Kovačić, N'Golo Kanté, and Jorginho out at the same time. Five substitutions will be introduced in the Premier League next season. Several of the older players should also move on in the summer. This should create space for new players to be brought into the squad.
#3 Romelu Lukaku
The club spent £100 million on Romelu Lukaku last summer as the club felt it had finally found a finisher. Lukaku scored 24 goals in Serie A last season but has only scored five this season. He was great at the start, scoring goals against Arsenal and a few other teams. Neutrals and fans of the club felt the team were going to challenge. He said all the right things in the media and got all the fans on his side.
Lukaku then gave that fateful interview to Sky Italia, confessing his love for Inter Milan and how he missed the club and its fans. It came at a time when the team was going through a rough patch, which turned a large part of the fanbase against him. He gave an apology interview, but the damage was done. Tuchel lost faith in him, and Lukaku lost interest on the pitch. The Lukaku transfer has turned out to be a gigantic waste of money.
#2 Individual Mistakes
What the team did brilliantly under Tuchel during the second half of last season was defend. A solid defense allowed the team to win several games by a margin of a single goal because opposition teams couldn't score. The team are still relatively solid defensively, but players have made individual howlers which has haunted the club this season.
The goal conceded against Manchester United at home was due to sloppy play in possession by Jorginho. The recent loss to Arsenal consisted of individual errors that resulted in goals. Everton's win on May 1 was also thanks to an error by Cesar Azpilicueta in defense. Trevoh Chalobah was caught in possession against Liverpool, and Jorginho had a mix-up with Edouard Mendy that resulted in a West Ham penalty.
These are just a few such errors that have resulted in conceded goals. Games that could have been narrow wins became draws, and some turned into losses. Dropped points of the team's own making.
#1 Chelsea's Inability To Finish
The top issue that has plagued the club this season has existed since 2017. Diego Costa, who left that summer, was arguably the club's most clinical finisher. Eden Hazard managed to carry the baton, but he left the club in 2019. Since then, the club has spent around £200 million on attacking talent but has not solved the problem.
This season's home fixtures against Everton, Burnley, and Manchester United have resulted in the team having 72 shots on goal. 30 of those shots were on target, and each one of those games ended in a 1-1 draw. The top scorer in the league for the club is Mason Mount, with 10 goals. Chelsea have struggled to score goals for ages and have not found a solution.