Chronicle’s Verdict on the Season So Far

Chelsea

This week the Premier League grinds to a halt for an international break no England player seems to want to take part in. So, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to stop and assess the season so far from a Chelsea point of view and it’s safe to say it’s been an up and down one. With the help of some regular contributors to the site, I’ve devised our review of the season so far and split it up into different categories.

Matt Owen – Columnist

Star performer – N’Golo Kante
While not at his best and hit by injury in a stop-start campaign, Kante proved what he is worth to the team and club as a whole, first player to win back to back titles with 2 different clubs in English football history, Chelsea look a different side without him.

Worst Performer – Antonio Rudiger
Harsh as he is a new summer signing and getting used to the league but if you examine his performances against Watford, Roma, H&A he is a weak link at the back and prone to an error or two, time will tell if he works out.

Best team performance – Spurs away
From the opening day shock of Burnley, the next game up was arch rivals Spurs, a defeat at Wembley could have had severe consequences for the team, even at that early stage, a champion performance from the Blues.

Worst team performance – Roma away
Especially the second half. Does it get much worse, at 2-0 we were far from out of this game, considering the chances in the 1st half, it looked a performance of a side bereft of confidence and belief.

Best goal – Alvaro Morata vs Stoke
Picking up the ball by the centre circle, the young Spaniard set off leaving defenders in his wake culminating in a beautiful finish, memories of Diego were vanishing and a new star had arrived.

Favourite moment – Beating Spurs
Need I say anymore?!

Prediction for rest of the season – Give youth a chance                                                                                                 Keep on the coattails of Manchester City so that if they have a wobble we can pounce and keep the pressure on, also I think the Champions League, especially as Antonio Conte has elements of his managerial skills to prove in the competition, would be fantastic if a few youth players were given more of a chance – still a lot to play for, oh and to keep Conte for a few more years.

Abhishek Pancholi – Columnist

Star performer – Cesar Azpilicueta
Barring a couple of games where he showed that he too is susceptible to human weaknesses such as fatigue, Dave has been outstanding in almost every game he has played. His connection with Morata is almost telepathic, a bit like Cesc with Costa. He’s played nearly everywhere in the backline and it’s not a stretch to imagine he’d put in a solid 8/10 performance anywhere on the pitch.

Worst performer – Willian
It’s where Chelsea attacks go to die. He was good when the rest were bad, in Mourinho’s final season, but he hasn’t been able to raise his performances at all. His usual ‘run with the ball, stop, pass it backwards’ is just not cutting it anymore.

Best team performance – Manchester United home
A game where the quality and number of chances created deserved more than the solitary goal. The most balanced team selection since the Atletico game produced the most well-rounded performance. Excellent.

Worst team performance – Crystal Palace away
This is Chelsea, so most of us already knew Palace would break their duck against us. What we didn’t count on was a truly insipid display that made Palace look like a top four side and Zaha the second coming of Arjen Robben.

Best goal – Alvaro Morata vs Stoke
There was something about that goal which reminded me of the Torres of Liverpool. The pace on the run, the ease with which he went past defenders and the sumptuous finish. I’ve waited so long to see a Chelsea striker do something like that.

Favourite moment – Ecstasy and agony in Spain
Those few precious seconds when Michy scored the winner against Atletico and the camera showed an absolutely devastated Diego Costa in the stands. Call me twisted, but I like my eggs with a bit of schadenfreude on the side.

Prediction for the rest of the season – An optimistic recovery
Still a long way to go and there’s no way City can keep winning every game. Despite the doom and gloom, we are well-placed to take second when Mourinho inevitably sets Old Trafford on fire and Spurs do what they do best. And if we’re lucky, a title push might be on the cards too.

Chris Darwen – Editor-in-Chief

Before I go into all this, I should probably throw in the disclaimer that I am not actually a Chelsea fan. Neither do I dislike them, but if you are expecting an impassioned rant from a loyal follower of the Blues, look away now.

Star performer – Cesar Azpilicueta
You should see how many points he has got for my fantasy team. He crosses, Morata scores. Lovely. Did you see how many wasted crossed there were when Alvaro was injured?

Worst performer – Michy Batshuayi
You might feel I am being harsh. But if your back up striker is better known for his social media skills than his penalty box skills then there is something not quite right.

Best team performance – Atletico Madrid away
Best performance? This season? Chelsea have looked a shadow of their former selves this time out, but their victory in Madrid was special – even if Michy proves me wrong by scoring the winner that night.

Worst team performance – Crystal Palace, Roma away
Losing to Crystal Palace was pretty grim. Getting done by three in Rome was also terrible, especially as Serie A sides don’t really do the Champions League anymore.

Best goal – Alvaro Morata vs Manchester United
Pedro has got a few crackers this season, but the skill involved in Morata’s header at the weekend was something else.

Favourite moment – Conte’s questionable commitment
The Italian for almost convincing me he is in it for the rest of the season with his theatrics to the crowd after beating Manchester United.

Prediction for the rest of the season – Conte’s very questionable commitment
Antonio Conte to lead the side to the Europa League. AC Milan that is.

Lase Laleye – Columnist, Chelsea Ladies correspondent

Star performer – Cesar Azpilicueta
Already the club’s most consistent of defenders anywhere across the backline, he’s added assists to this game this year and is on course to get into double figures for that stat.

Worst performer – Willian
After losing his place in the team last year to Pedro, you would think he would take the opportunity this season to step up. Unfortunately for him, every time he is called upon he puts in ineffective and dreary performances.

Best team performance – Atletico Madrid away
Chelsea produced the archetypal ‘perfect away performance’ in Madrid, dominating the game throughout and although we only clinched the game in the dying seconds, that just made the performance and result all the more sweeter.

Worst team performance – Manchester City home
The team didn’t show up, letting Man City run rings around them without even attempting to stop them. Lucky to only lose 1-0.

Best goal – Marcos Alonso vs Spurs
His free kicks are always a thing of beauty, to do it away at Spurs was even better

Favourite moment – Batsman to the rescue
Batshuayi’s last-gasp winner against Atletico was incredible and was a goal we fully deserved. The sequence of play that led to the goal was composure at its finest!

Prediction for the rest of the season – Silverware and a title push
Winning the League Cup and being Man City’s closest challengers only to miss out on winning the title 3 games towards the end.

Billy Munday – Columnist

Best performer – Cesar Azpilicueta
The team look so much stronger with him in the back 3. His partnership with Alvaro Morata has also been a useful source of goals thanks to Dave’s pinpoint crosses.

Worst performer – Antonio Rudiger
I have to say, I’ve not been overly impressed with the German defender since his arrival from Rome. I don’t think they’d want him back either after his display in the Champions League against them.

Best team performance – Manchester United home
Everything seemed to come off. If it hadn’t been for Bakayoko’s poor finishing, Mourinho could’ve been having déjà vu about the whole thing.

Worst team performance – Roma away
The first half wasn’t actually too bad but the second was the worst I’ve seen under Antonio Conte. The comical defending where three players ran towards the man with the ball summed up the whole evening.

Best goal – Michy Batshuayi vs Atletico Madrid
With just seconds to go and a free kick around 40 yards from goal, we were expecting a hopeful hoof into the keeper’s arms. What we actually got was a composed and intricate team move that resulted in Batshuayi winning the game – such a satisfying goal to score.

Favourite moment – Beating Jose                                                                                                                                      It never gets boring does it?

Prediction for the rest of the season – A decent recovery
I can’t see us catching Manchester City but if they do slip up, I can see us being next in line. There is a possibility to win silverware elsewhere – both home and abroad if Hazard and Morata keep up their fine form.