This time a year ago, Chelsea were top of the table, and it’s easy to forget that they kept that position almost until Christmas.
So even after a late season slip in form, it should be no surprise that Thomas Tuchel’s group were among the favourites to at the very least finish in the top 4 this year, despite an unprecedented level of disruption in the spring.
But a draw against Tottenham and then a horrific loss yesterday, combined with an ominous and impressive start to the season from Tottenham and Arsenal, has drastically changed the picture after just a few weeks.
A glance at betting sites like gg.bet/en/esports show some scary figures for Chelsea fans, who have plummeted from sitting in third place in the title rankings down to 5th, with their odds shifting from those of a title outsider to 5/6 just to take to the top 4.
That’s an implied probability of 54.5%, meaning we’re only considered slightly more likely to qualify than not. It would only take one more bad result for us to become slight outsiders to make the top 4 at all – and that is a pretty crazy turnaround given it’s not yet the end of August.
Now we can all quite rightly be told to get a grip her. It’s early days, we had a good showing against Tottenham despite the bad final result, and we could feasibly go on a winning run that catapults us right back into place.
Manchester City’s result yesterday reminded us that even the very best teams can draw or lose here and there, and this could be an exceptionally even season all round in the Premier League.
We expect Chelsea to go out and start spending now, with that bad result spurring on some good old fashioned panic buying. Maybe that will shorten our odds a little. But as Simon Philips has written in these pages, the worst thing we can possibly do is overreact. We’re in a bad way now, but we will be in a much worse way if we start handing out mega money contracts to players left right and centre in the closing days of the window.
It’s time to take serious action, but not yet time to panic. Arsenal and Spurs look good – but they often do, and it’s usually the Blues who come out on top.
Let’s look at ourselves before we start looking to buy in new players.