The big question Todd Boehly will ask himself as his sets off his first New Year’s firework is: have Chelsea actually improved in 2022?
Replacing Roman Abramovich in May signalled the end of nearly two decades of silverware and success, and the start of something new and shiny.
Boehly brought his American wealth to build upon what was left by his predecessor: an expensive squad, with the potential to challenge for every title available to them.
Thomas Tuchel had continued the theme of achieving glory whilst in charge of the team, winning the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in just over 12 months.
He also enhanced several players like very few Chelsea managers before him have accomplished.
Boehly risks it all for Potter
Yet, for all his positive attributes, Tuchel clearly did not persuade Boehly enough to stay in a job, as he was sacked in September.
Graham Potter was plucked from Brighton to takeover the reigns and hopefully get the best out of a side that had changed again in the summer.
Fast forward to December, and Boehly may have an answer to his question: no, Chelsea have not improved in 2022.
Not under Potter anyway, who has unfortunately sent the project in the opposite direction.
However, despite the sour cloud hanging over Stamford Bridge right now, there are several situated at the stadium who will feel they’ve reached personal development.
One name rises above the rest, as the Chelsea Chronicle selects their most improved Chelsea player of the year.
Conor continues to push on
It’s difficult to pick out an upgrade from the Blues camp, considering they are all pretty much established internationals.
But Conor Gallagher’s growth in 2022 has certainly stood out from the crowd.
The midfielder spent most of the year on loan at Crystal Palace, where he truly established himself as a Premier League regular.
He matured rapidly whilst playing for Patrick Vieira, and began to transform into a more rounded patroller in the middle of the park.
Gallagher added goals and assists to his game with more regularity, although avoiding the referee’s notebook is still an issue.
His excellent stint as an Eagle not only earned him a first senior England call-up, but also a return to Chelsea for the current campaign.
Gareth Southgate decided that the improvement of the Cobham academy graduate was worthy of a place at the World Cup.
Southgate might not have awarded the 22-year-old any minutes in Qatar, but it was testament enough that he got a seat on the plane in the first place.
Hopefully Gallagher can deliver more gold in 2023.