Chelsea's mediocre season is a combination of poor management and a weak hierarchy
The manner in which Chelsea's season is unraveling, they seem to be beating themselves at the moment. The glorious start to the season for Chelsea under Napoli fame, Maurizio Sarri is now a distant memory and their best opportunity for silverware is the second division of UEFA's European tournaments, the Europa League.
There isn't any particular trigger point where things turned awry for Sarri and Chelsea this season but instead one can point out multiple instances of failure, all reinforcing one trait - lack of doggedness from the Chelsea players.
By lack of doggedness, I refer to the combination of lack of motivation to compete either due to the grandeur of the opponent or tournament coupled with misplaced priorities. This claim can be supported by analyzing Chelsea's results this season. In the Premier League, they have drawn and lost against the likes of West Ham, Everton, Wolves, Leicester, Southampton, Bournemouth, and no Chelsea fans need a reminder for the 6-0 mauling at the Etihad.
On the flip side, in the instances wherein the players had something to fight for - the FA Cup match-up against Manchester United and the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, the performance of the team reflected hunger and passion, barring the result. The fight shown by the players on the pitch in the face of adversity is what the fans deserve each time Chelsea FC steps on to the football field, not occasionally.
Sarri himself blamed their defeat at Arsenal back in January on the players' 'mentality' and going as far as to state that the Chelsea players are "extremely difficult to motivate". This is not to completely acquit him of the blame as his rigid tactics and stubborn mindset can easily be found culpable as well for the debacle that sees Chelsea FC placed 6th in the Premier League table after 30 games with the worst goal difference amongst the top 6.
Let alone the formation, the fans themselves can be seen ridiculing his predictability when he decides to bring on Barkley for Kovacic or vice versa. But irrespective of the shortcoming of his preferred system and rigidity, the players are supposed to buy into any manager's philosophy, irrespective of their own personal views for the betterment of the football club, in general, as depicted swiftly by the Manchester United players post Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking over as manager.
Amidst the transformation Chelsea have had since Roman Abramovich took over back in 2003, they have had a poor season periodically every 2-3 years. It's a negative pattern that the players and fans seem to have become used to in the hope that the subsequent seasons will be better.
As efficient as this structure may be, it does not instill stability and sustainability. This topsy turvy season, Eden Hazard's non-committal attitude, Kepa's refusal to be substituted are only some of the consequences of this structure and the Chelsea fans have been the collateral damage this season.