What will the 2018/19 season look like for Chelsea?
What do we know?
With the World Cup currently going on, we are seeing more and more world stars going home prematurely, whilst the underdog teams seem to be taking closer steps to the best trophy in football. Most fans currently have their eyes and minds completely focused on their teams who are remaining in the world cup to win it, but what about those fans whose teams are out of the World Cup? They may still be watching for fun but aside from that, club football resumes in August.
For Chelsea fans, a lot are still concentrated on England winning the World Cup and hoping that it comes home. However, they are concerned with the lack of club news on the position of the manager and why no new signings have been announced for the upcoming season. Currently, there is a divide in opinions on whether Antonio Conte should be sacked or whether he should stay for another season. Firstly, let's look at the obvious.
Antonio Conte has been at Chelsea Football Club for two seasons now and in that time he managed to win the Premier League and the FA Cup. Individually, he won the Premier League Manager of the Season award, along with 3 Manager of the Month awards.
He had a dream debut season with Chelsea, setting up the most wins by a club in one season with 30 wins (record later surpassed by Manchester City in the following season). However, the following season, he failed to help the Blues make the UEFA Champions League qualification for the 2018/19 season following a dismal run in the latter half of the season which led to Chelsea finishing 5th in the Premier League and qualifying for the UEFA Europa League.
What is the problem?
Let's have a look at what went wrong. January seemed to be the month where their slip in the table had started. The winter transfer window had opened on 1st January and this resulted in the sale of Diego Costa. Now they failed to put to use the money from this sale and fill positions that were required given the poor form of some players.
Chelsea acquired two2 central midfielders in Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley, the latter who was injured at the time, using this money whilst already having four central midfielders in the first team. The Blues also signed Olivier Giroud to compete with Alvaro Morata who was getting used to English football.
At the end of January, they had lost to Bournemouth at home and subsequently lost to Watford away. In the end, a slip from 2nd to 5th is one to enrage many fans and it is clear that the winter transfer market was one of the primary reasons for this.
Looking ahead to next season, it seems that the problems that once tanked Chelsea's season seem to be repeating. Chelsea have announced no signings in the month of June and so far in July and the links to players seem to be those not of the positions that are required at the club.
Based on many fan opinions and player form, it can be seen that a new central midfielder, winger and wingback are required. With the transfer window shutting earlier this year and the new season set to start in about a month, Chelsea will have to splash the cash or they may be saying goodbye to next season's title-winning chance.
What can they do?
However, as the history in the last 5 years has told us with this football club, they seem to be inconsistent in their winning form. Chelsea finished 3rd in 2013/14, 1st in 2014/15, 10th in 2015/16, 1st in 2016/17 and 5th in 2017/18.
There are a few ways to look at this. Optimistic fans are looking ahead to the season as another title win to add to the cabinet and history. Pessimistic fans are looking at the current team problems and comparing it to the 3 seasons where the club did not win the league and are predicting the same to happen next season.
In the seasons the club won the league, we could see significant improvements from the season before. So, looking ahead, fans should not be worried about a bad position in the next season giving that the club has proven the results.
Finishing 5th and having manager problems will look bad for a club of the stature of Chelsea but an alert to all fans and readers; the club realizes what goes wrong and history shows us they have made significant changes to get back to winning ways.
Tying Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois down to new contracts seems to be a primary job. They are arguably two of the best players in the squad and seem to be considering their options away from Chelsea next season.
Confirmation of these for the best players at the club is one of few reasons that are going to keep them to stay at Chelsea. Along with more money in their wages, giving them the answers in new signings shows them that there is still ambition in the club to win trophies and gives them a reason to be part of this dream.
They don't seem to have problems with Antonio Conte so some fans will definitely be hoping he stays given his relationship with the players and the 2 season's he has had at Chelsea.
A likely prediction to next season is that Chelsea are going to yet again be competing for the Premier League title and some fans will definitely be thinking of a first placed finish based on the history. However, major changes need to happen in terms of players.
New signings must be announced before the transfer window ends and the club needs to realize this. I keep saying that the club has realized what has gone wrong in the past, but no signings yet can raise some eyebrows and be worrying to fans.
The manager situation needs to be confirmed by the end of the World Cup whether Antonio Conte will be staying or going. The likely replacement candidate seems to be Maurizio Sarri. Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois need to be tied down to new contracts. They are one of the most crucial players in the squad and are linked to many big competitor clubs.
This is what seems to be the problems within the team right now and the club needs to address these before the upcoming season in order to have any chances of competing for the Premier League title and winning on the domestic and continental stage.
Where do you think the problem lies with respect to Chelsea? Tell us in the comments below!