The three most disappointing moments for Chelsea in 2021 - TCC View

In a year of so many incredible highs, it feels slightly wrong to pick out the few negatives.

2021 will be remembered as another incredible chapter in Chelsea’s thrilling novel, that continues to throw curve ball after curve ball in the reader’s direction.

Winning the Champions League was easily the pinnacle of the past 12 months, with so many memorable moments in between.

Yet, the bad times make the special days even more special, so there is certainly a place for them in the sport.

Here are the Chelsea Chronicle’s top three most disappointing occasions of the year:

Farewell Frank

When Frank Lampard took over Chelsea in 2019, the club needed a lift.

They had just been slapped with a transfer ban, not long after losing Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.

There was a certain disconnect between the fans and the team, due to the uncomfortable atmosphere Maurizio Sarri forged during his one season in charge.

Lampard provided a feel-good factor in his debut campaign, leading the Blues to a top-four Premier League finish, all whilst giving the youngsters a stab at the big time.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Unfortunately, things began to unravel rather quickly for the iconic midfielder, just a few months into his second term.

Expensive signings failed to hit the ground running, leaving the side in something of disarray after the New Year.

Following a run of poor results, Lampard was sacked on the 25th of January.

There is a silver lining to this sad story.

Thomas Tuchel almost immediately took charge of the squad and the rest that followed needs no introduction.

So close in the cup

Having been in the job for a relative micro-second, Tuchel had transformed the feeling around Stamford Bridge.

The Blues were back on their mighty pedestal, owed to their German coach and his impressive methods.

Now in a promising position domestically and in the Champions League, the 48-year-old could concentrate on winning his first silverware as Chelsea boss.

In just his 27th game at the helm, Tuchel led the Londoners out at Wembley for the FA Cup final against Leicester City.

Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Defeating Manchester City in the semi-final meant the boys in their own backyard were the favourites.

They were seeking revenge from the previous year’s heartbreak against Arsenal

Leicester had never won the ancient competition, so it felt like a David versus Goliath scenario.

Plus, the added pressure of a partly full stadium – the largest UK crowd since the coronavirus pandemic began – made it an incredibly poignant occasion.

Especially for the Foxes, who ended up winning the match 1-0 thanks to a Youri Tieleman’s wonder strike just after the hour.

Chelsea had a last-minute equaliser chalked off by VAR, meaning Tuchel’s troop left the ground empty-handed.

No matter; another, bigger trophy was soon to land in the trophy cabinet…

Chilly concerns

The life of a footballer really can be a rollercoaster at times.

Just ask Ben Chilwell, who has experienced the highest of heights and the lowest of lows this year.

A recruitment of Lampards, the left-back swiftly established himself as a regular under the former manager.

Tuchel’s arrival didn’t immediately displace the England international’s position.

He was a starter in the Champions League win over Manchester City, teeing him up nicely for the European Championships.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

However, after failing to play a minute at the tournament, Chilwell returned to Cobham feeling rather deflated.

His mood can’t have improved a month into the campaign, as he had not kicked a ball competitively for the Blues.

The 24-year-old’s first start didn’t arrive until the eighth game.

Yet, following that Carabao Cup clash with Aston Villa, the defender dug his heels in and remained a regular fixture in the side.

Not only that, he became a regular scorer for a period as well, netting four goals in as many matches for club and country in October.

Everything was sunshine and rainbows for Chilwell, until a dark cloud covered him in darkness.

During the 4-0 thrashing of Juventus, he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament, the injury that any player fears picking up.

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Depending on the severity of the damages, the full-back might miss the rest of the term, which could harm his World Cup chances as well.

We are all wishing you a speedy recovery, Ben!

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.