For the first time in three years, Chelsea are on the verge of finishing the season without a trophy. The Blues have been eliminated from the EFL Cup after a tight contest against Manchester City.
Even though they continue their pursuit of glory in the other tournaments, almost nobody puts them as favourites to clinch any title. They might have their best chance at the FA cup, despite not having entered the tournament yet, as you can check here.
2022/23 Campaign – Current Situation
Their recent performance in the Premier League has been devastating as they were entirely outplayed by Newcastle in a direct battle for the top 4. They are currently on a 5-game winless streak in the most competitive domestic tournament in the world. To make matters worse, Chelsea consecutively lost to Brighton (A), Arsenal (H), and Newcastle (A).
On top of everything else, their campaign in the Champions League took off on shaky ground after losing points to Dinamo Zagreb and Salzburg. However, the Blues closed out the Group Stage with four wins which put them back in 1st place. They were eventually matched with Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 which will certainly be a close battle despite the bookies favouring the English squad.
The team has been struggling with their momentum all season long which caused them to drop 16 points behind Arsenal in the Premier League. The internal change within the staff management and especially the firing of their head coach, Thomas Tuchel, right at the beginning of the season, has taken its toll on the overall performance of the team. Moreover, the Blues are yet to face both Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
It seems that the World Cup comes at the right moment for the team from West London. However, the situation might get even worse for Chelsea, if they don’t take adequate action during the break.
N’Golo Kante – The missing piece in the puzzle
One of the biggest losses for Chelsea this season has been the absence of their playmaker and world champion with France, N’Golo Kante. The 31-year-old central midfielder has enjoyed an incredible career throughout the last 7 years as he was part of the glorious success of Leicester City, which was then followed by winning everything with Chelsea and snatching the 2018 FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Kante is undoubtedly the Blues’ most important piece in their well-organized puzzle. However, with him missing from the pitch since August, Chelsea has been struggling to dominate the midfield area. Without his work rate high up the field, the Blues are forced to change their tactics which led them to even more struggles in front of the opposition’s goal.
Kante suffered an unpleasant hamstring injury against Tottenham and he is currently in his 3rd month of recovery. Further complications required another surgery in October which will keep him sidelined until at least February.
No chemistry in the offensive line
Chelsea’s management spent lots of money on their defensive line during the summer transfer window as they acquired both Wesley Fofana from Leicester and Marc Cucurella from Brighton. Despite the logic behind these picks, this might seem like a wrong move by Thomas Tuchel as it’s almost inevitable for the team to suffer a major setback on the other part of the pitch.
They parted ways with Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku just to acquire Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who joined the squad at 33 years of age. Raheem Sterling was also included in Tuchel’s selection for the summer, but he still struggles to live up to his potential at Stamford Bridge.
Jorginho loses the midfield battle due to ongoing issues with the squad
Without N’Golo Kante’s help in the midfield, Jorginho has been given yet another responsibility during the game. However, the Brazilian seems to be unable to handle all the pressure as he doesn’t always link perfectly with Mateo Kovacic. The team also gives more playing time and freedom to Ruben Loftus-Cheek who struggles to appear on the scoreboard for a second consecutive season.
Moreover, Hakim Ziyech has also had a tough stint at Chelsea this season which certainly imposed a negative impact on Jorginho. The Moroccan played just one full match for the Blues as he might be one of the departures during the upcoming transfer window.
Rebuilding takes time
Unfortunately, it gets more and more likely that we will see a blank season from one of the best sides in European football. However, due to ongoing internal issues with both players and the management, it seems that everybody will have to come back to reality and lower their expectations of the team. A place in the top 4 in the Premier League would be a top priority, while any other success should be considered a sweet and much-needed bonus.