Chelsea and Manchester United squared off against each other for the last time this season in the Emirates FA Cup Final.
The Premier League season was over, and both sides had more or less exchanged places in the table, compared with the previous season. Manchester United had moved up from sixth to second on the strength of key signings and ex-Chelsea players Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic.
Chelsea had also made (perhaps unnecessary) changes to their title-winning side, losing Matic to United and also top scorer Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid. They then duly proceeded to collapse from first to fifth in a disappointing second season for manager Antonio Conte.
Manchester City had the 2018 Premier League title and Carabao Cup sewn up. Liverpool were preparing for a Champions League final vs Real Madrid in Kiev. This game was Chelsea and Manchester United’s last chance to win a trophy this season. […]
Conte reacted quickly to the goal, first bringing in Giroud for Zappacosta and then Hazard for Pedro a few minutes later.
The reinforcements helped spring the lock: four minutes after the Hazard sub, Azpilicueta zipped a low cross into the box. Zanka tried to intercept, but his clearance bounced off Marcos Alonso’s head and into the net for 1-1.
It was Alonso’s seventh league goal this season. He barely knew anything about it, it was a lucky goal, but Chelsea had flooded the penalty box with bodies. It was the kind of luck you make by being there for the opportunity when it comes.
Even as they equalized though, the news filtered in that Harry Kane had scored at Wembley to put Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 up v Newcastle United. As it stood, Chelsea were not getting past Spurs into the CL places. […]
It was a cheery sunny afternoon at the Bridge, with a capacity crowd in attendance for Sunday’s late kick-off. Chelsea were playing Liverpool in the Premier League, with just three games left to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive.
The Blues were experiencing a slight upturn in their fortunes, with three wins in their three games since a tough home defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.
Liverpool were flying in the Champions League, but suffering somewhat in the EPL. They had only two wins vs Crystal Palace (2-1 away) and Bournemouth (3-0) in their last five games. The other three results were draws with Everton (0-0 away), West Bromwich Albion (2-2 away) and Stoke City (0-0 at home).
Both teams made just one change to their line-ups from previous games. Marcos Alonso returned from suspension to replace Emerson on the left wing for Chelsea, and Nathaniel Clyne came in for Jordan Henderson for Liverpool. […]
Chelsea were in Wales to play Swansea City, for Saturday’s late EPL kick-off. There were just four games left till the end of the Premier League season. Five games before withdrawal symptoms set in for Chelsea FC fans, including the FA Cup Final.
Swansea City were in some danger: they were 17th in the table with 33 points, one point and one place above the relegation line, and with two games left to play against two clubs below them, Southampton and Stoke City.
They’d picked up just three points in their last five league games, from draws with Huddersfield Town (0-0), West Bromwich Albion (1-1) and Everton (1-1). They’d also lost to Manchester United (2-0) at the end of March, and Manchester City (5-0) in their last game.
The league champions were up in 5th on 63 points, seeing out a disappointing season by their standards. They had a faint hope of catching up with Tottenham or Liverpool in the champions league places, slightly enhanced by Liverpool’s recent draws with West Brom (2-2) and Stoke (0-0), but Conte’s team would probably have to win all of their remaining games to take advantage. […]
Chelsea were up in Lancashire for their Thursday night premier league fixture vs Burnley FC. The visitors were 5th on the log and their hosts 7th, but in terms of recent form, Sean Dyche’s team weren’t just ahead of Chelsea: they were absolute top of the league.
Yes. Burnley were doing better than Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, better than Mourinho’s United, Klopp’s Liverpool, Pochettino’s Spurs and Wenger’s Arsenal. Five wins and a draw in their last six, sixteen points from a possible eighteen. Ten full places ahead of the Blues on the form table, way back in 11th with just two wins and a draw in the same period of time.
When these two teams met at the start of the 2014/15 season, the game set the tone for the rest of the campaign – Chelsea swept Burnley away on the strength of well-taken goals from Diego Costa, Andre Schurrle and Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas pulling the strings in midfield. The West London club ultimately went on to win the league that season.
Fast forward to 2017/18, and the league opener was also predictive of Chelsea’s season. Gary Cahill was sent off on 14 minutes, and Sam Vokes and Stephen Ward had Burnley 3-0 up by half time. Marcos Alonso and David Luiz scored, but it wasn’t enough, and the reigning league champions carried on with a disappointing season from there. […]
Chelsea played West Ham United in their second consecutive derby this month, for Sunday’s late Premier League kick-off.
Chelsea were coming off an immensely disappointing defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in their previous game. In fact, they had not won a single game against top six opposition in 2018. They might have scraped a win over Arsenal at the beginning of the year, but for a late equaliser from Hector Bellerin.
The league table suggested that Chelsea had the advantage for this game: they were at home and fighting for a fifth place finish, and their visitors were struggling mightily to stay out of the relegation places.
Head-to-head though, West Ham had won three and drawn one of their last six games against Chelsea. David Moyes’ team were slowly becoming a bogey side for their West London neighbours. […]
Spurs were playing far more positively now. Mauricio Pochettino had probably realized, like many other EPL managers this season, that it was a tactical error to sit back and invite pressure from Chelsea.
This year’s team had not lost much potency in attack compared with previous seasons, but they were extremely shaky in midfield and defence. Apply a little pressure and they were almost certain to cave in.
And so it proved: First, Heung-Min Son had a long range curler parried out by Caballero on 61 minutes.
Barely a minute later Eric Dier went route one, lobbing a through ball over sleepwalkers Christensen and Azpilicueta, to Dele Alli. The English midfielder took one touch to control the pass, and another to finish off the inside of the post, 2-1 to Spurs. […]
Sunday 18th March, King Power Stadium – Chelsea made a quick return to action against Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Just four days had passed since their demoralizing 3 – 0 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League.
Chelsea had reached the FA Cup quarter-finals after home wins against two Premier League sides: Hull City (4 – 0) and Newcastle United (3 – 0). Before that, they’d struggled mightily to overcome Norwich City on penalties after a slightly vindictive refereeing performance in the third round replay.
Claude Puel’s side had dealt quietly and competently with Sheffield United (1 – 0), Peterborough United (5 – 1) and Fleetwood Town (2 – 0 in the replay after a goalless game at Highbury). Nigerian international Kelechi Iheanacho was City’s hero in this competition, having scored four goals against Fleetwood and Peterborough.
Antonio Conte made four changes to the team that started at Camp Nou: Willy Caballero came in for Thibaut Courtois, after the Belgian’s entertaining double-nutmeg performance against the Catalan side. Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata replaced Cesc Fabregas and Olivier Giroud in midfield and attack. […]
Barcelona and Chelsea clashed again in the second leg of the UEFA Champions league round of sixteen.
The teams had enjoyed very different fortunes since the 1 – 1 draw at Stamford Bridge in February. Chelsea had been beaten twice in Manchester by United and City, before scraping a 2-1 win vs Crystal Palace at home.
They were fifth in the league, four points behind Liverpool in fourth, and twenty-five points (yes you read that right, twenty-five points) behind league leaders Manchester City.
Barcelona had played four league games to Chelsea’s three, beating Girona and Atletico Madrid 6 – 1 and 1 – 0 respectively at home, and bottom club Malaga 2 – 0 away.
Surprisingly, their one draw had come against relegation-threatened Las Palmas, but the Catalan giants were eight points clear at the top of La Liga Santander with ten games left to play. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were the league’s top scorers at 24 and 21 goals, and all was right with the world. […]
With the exception of a 3 – 0 win when Huddersfield defended deep and let them play, every time Chelsea have used Eden Hazard as a striker this season, they’ve struggled to attack effectively, either scoring just one goal or none at all.
Today was no different: Chelsea did not register a single shot on target the entire game.
Manchester City had shown against weaker opposition (Burnley and Wigan Athletic) that they could be breached, but with both their center forwards warming the bench, Chelsea were simply not set up to take advantage.
Even more worrying though, was a heads-down attitude and lack of application from some Chelsea players at certain moments in the game. […]