June 26, 2023 5:37 PM
In this 20-article series, we take a look at the Premier League season, focusing on each team individually. We take a look at transfer window activity, managerial changes and key points throughout the season.
Chelsea’s transfer window is very difficult to judge, considering how many players they brought in, the lack of players leaving the club, the positions these players played, and how poorly the team performed overall during the season.
In terms of departures, Timo Werner left to join RB Leipzig, Emerson went to West Ham, Jorginho made a surprise move to Arsenal in January, exciting young prospect Billy Gilmour moved to Brighton and Lukaku went on loan to Inter. . In short, not too many first-team players leave and not too much money enters the club.
The money coming into the club didn’t matter though, as the Chelsea takeover provided them with the funds to go and spend as they pleased. Chelsea signed Joao Félix and Denis Zakaria on loan from Atlético Madrid and Juventus. Former Arsenal player Aubameyang has joined from Barcelona, and exciting Carney Chukwuemeka has joined from Aston Villa.
Another trio of Premier League players moved to Chelsea. Raheem Sterling traded light blue for dark blue when he arrived from Man City, Marc Cucurella made a big money move from Brighton and Fofana made the switch from Leicester. Chelsea made a double defensive signing from the French league, as Malo Gusto signed from Olympic Lyon, and Badiashile transferred from Monaco.
The expense did not stop there either. Another centre-back joined the Chelsea ranks, as Koulibaly joined, Noni Madueke signed from PSV to join Chelsea’s attacking players, along with Mudryk, a player who desperately wanted to join Arsenal but settled on Chelsea. There was still more room for one more big-money signing, as Chelsea moved on for World Cup winner and Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernández.
The quality of the players that Chelsea brought in is brilliant. They have brought a mix of youth, experience, pace, skill and style. When this team finally clicks under the right manager, this side will be a force to be reckoned with. However, this transfer window cannot be rated very highly as Chelsea failed to sign an all-round striker who could come in and consistently score goals. Yes, Chelsea signed Aubameyang, but he is 33 years old and has only managed one goal in the Premier League, which is not good enough for a team like Chelsea.
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Chelsea is a club known for changing managers, no thanks to Roman Abramovich. This season was no different, this time under a different owner. Thomas Tuchel did not last long in the season. He only managed 6 games of the Premier League season, and it didn’t start badly. 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses.
The game that was considered the last straw was their first match of the Champions League group stage. An away game against Dinamo Zagreb ended in a 1-0 defeat for Chelsea, and the board decided that was it. Tuchel was fired the next day, on September 7, and on the 8th, Graham Potter was announced as the new head coach.
He reversed his Champions League misfortune as he guided Chelsea through the group stage, but results in the Premier League took a turn for the worse. After recording wins in their first 3 Premier League games, Chelsea have only won once in 9 games, a run that saw them drift further and further away from the top 6.
With calls mounting for Potter to be sacked from Chelsea fans, the board decided to pull the trigger on April 2, a day after Potter lost 2-0 at home to Aston Villa. Bruno Saltor took over as interim manager for 4 days, during which he oversaw a draw with Liverpool before Frank Lampard returned to the club on an interim basis until the end of the season.
Despite Chelsea’s poor season, it got even worse. Lampard oversaw 9 games and had a possible 27 points up for grabs. His return from him? Only 5 points. A run of results that saw Chelsea move ever closer to the bottom 3, rather than the top half of the table.
A series of poor managerial decisions has really hampered Chelsea’s season this year. Frank Lampard should never have returned to the club, especially after his last spell there. It was only going to mean trouble.
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It’s hard to decide where the turning point in Chelsea’s season was, as they never really got going after Tuchel’s departure. Their 3–1 away win against Bournemouth under Lampard towards the end of the season effectively saved them from a relegation fight, but apart from that it was their start to the season that really saved them.
For me, the turning point was that 1-0 defeat in the Champions League in the first game of the group stage. If they hadn’t reacted so rashly and fired Tuchel, would they have had the season they did? I doubt it, I am convinced that it would have been much better for them. He had won half the Premier League games he had managed so far this season, so why would he be sacked after a group stage loss?
Other than that, Potter’s first Premier League game in charge was a 2–1 win against Crystal Palace. Edouard took the lead after just 7 minutes for Palace, but Aubameyang scored his only goal for the club and Gallagher scored on 90 minutes to give Potter a dramatic win.
That result then led Chelsea to win their next two Premier League games and saw them finish the Champions League group stage unbeaten under Graham Potter. It all went downhill from there, but as mentioned above these early results saved Chelsea’s season in the end.
Chelsea’s Champions League journey began in the group stage against Dinamo Zagreb and they lost 1-0 in what was Thomas Tuchel’s last game. Graham Potter fared much better as his first Champions League game was a 1-1 home draw against Red Bull Salzburg, Raheem Sterling scoring just after half time before Okafor equalized the game.
Chelsea then faced Milan at home and recorded an impressive 3-0 win thanks to goals from Fofana, Aubameyang and James, before completing a brace over them in the reverse fixture. An early red card for former Chelsea player Tomori helped them to a 2-0 win, thanks to Jorginho and Aubameyang.
Chelsea then recorded a 2-1 away win against Red Bull Salzburg. Kovacic gave Chelsea the lead before Adamu equalized just after half time. Havertz scored just after the hour mark when Chelsea watched the game. In their last game of the group stage, Chelsea faced Dinamo Zagreb at home and won 2-1. Petkovic gave the visitors the lead after 7 minutes, but Chelsea responded through Sterling and Denis Zakaria to win 2–1, as Chelsea progressed to the round of 16.
Chelsea were given a round of 16 tie against Borussia Dortmund, with the first leg as priority. Adeyemi scored the only goal of the game as the Germans won 1-0. In the second leg, Chelsea surprisingly turned it around. Sterling equalized the tie minutes before halftime, and Havertz won the game for them in the 53rd minute with a goal from the penalty spot. By winning 2-1 on aggregate, Chelsea set up for a quarter-final showdown with Real Madrid.
No one expected Chelsea to get past Madrid, and Madrid made sure Chelsea didn’t stand a chance. They recorded convincing 2-0 home-leg wins to win 4-0 on aggregate. Benzema scored after 20 minutes to open the scoring in the first leg, and Ben Chilwell’s red card did not help Chelsea much as Asensio scored with 15 minutes remaining to win the first leg 2–0.
The second leg was also quite easy for Madrid. Rodrygo scored twice in the second half, putting Chelsea out as Madrid advanced to the semi-finals.
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Chelsea’s performance in the Carabao Cup was essentially non-existent. They entered the competition in the third round, with a draw against Man City. They turned up, barely played and lost 2-0, thanks to goals from Mahrez and Alvarez. The less said about his time in this competition, the better.
If we think Chelsea’s Carabao Cup run was bad, their FA Cup run was, technically, even worse. They were given another away game against Man City, this time losing 4-0. First-half goals from Mahrez, Alvarez and Foden essentially ended the tie before halftime. Mahrez added sparkle to the score line, making it 4-0, and Chelsea were again sent crashing out in the first round.
Overall it has been a very disappointing season for Chelsea. Being knocked out of both domestic cups at the first attempt by the same team, finishing closer to the relegation zone than the top 6. Getting a bottom-half result, playing most of the season with an outright striker, and rehiring old managers who have underperformed. The list is endless.
It was a bad decision after a bad decision at Chelsea, and they need to get things right for next season. If they have another bad season, it could be disastrous for them. Their players will not want to play for a club that ends up in the middle of the table. They need to bring in someone who can unite the team, bring in a forward who can score at least 20 a season and fire them up at the table.
Their Champions League campaign was probably the highlight of the season in all honesty. I don’t think anyone expected them to beat Dortmund with the form Chelsea were in, so the quarter-final was probably a nice surprise for them.
They’re not afraid to spend money, and that showed this season. They brought in the right kind of players and they’re looking to the future. They just need to start investing that money in the right places now. It will be interesting to see how they do next year.