5 reasons why Chelsea has struggled this season
After finishing the season as the Premier League champions with 93 points and a league record 30 wins, it is natural that the expectations on the team would have skyrocketed for the next season.
With Manchester City steamrolling opponents, the English media is having a ball ripping apart the rest of the league with often redundant team press conferences that run more on provocation and less on tactics and team news.
There have been many times in the season where Antonio Conte has been rumoured to be on the verge of getting the sack from the 'trigger happy' Roman Abramovich. News about player dissatisfaction and absences have been blown out of proportion and a sense of disquiet seems to be around the club, much to the disappointment of Conte.
In reality, Chelsea is 3rd in the Premier League, closing in on the 2nd place with a points tally which could end up being just 4 points short of what the title-winning team of the last season had at the end of December. They have also progressed to the Champions League round of 16 and the semifinals of the Carabao Cup, while still being alive and well in the FA Cup too.
So by bringing some context into the picture( i.e. Manchester City's historic run), let us have a look at some things that have gone wrong for Chelsea since lifting the trophy last season.
#1 The Diego Costa saga
There is no doubt about how instrumental Costa was in bringing the Premier League back to Stamford Bridge after an abysmal season the year before. There were many moments when he single-handedly converted draws and losses into 3 points for Chelsea.
The club and its fans will always have fond memories of the enigmatic striker but all of it was undone when he decided to play be stubborn with the club's management in order to earn his transfer back to Spain.
In reality, it all started in the January transfer window when an alleged rift between Conte and Costa happened due to the striker pushing for a big-money move to China. And ever since then, the relationship has always been hanging by a thread, something that the fans absolutely hated because it was a recurring blemish on an otherwise perfect season.
Once the season ended, Costa flew off to Brazil and had a little too much fun for the club's liking by putting on a lot of weight during the holidays. His behavior along with Atletico's reluctance to match the asking price put Chelsea between a rock and a hard place for much of the window.
Admittedly, Conte was the one to cut off the relationship first with his now infamous 'seasono' text message. But the way Costa went about handling the situation for earning his move was nothing short of unprofessional. The end result was a toxic departure with Chelsea losing a marquee striker while gaining a whole lot of negative press along the way.