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. […]

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. […]

It was beautiful sunny weather at Wembley, as Chelsea lined up against Southampton for the second time in eight days. The game was this weekend’s second FA Cup semi-final; Manchester United having dispatched Tottenham Hotspur pretty handily, with a 2-1 win in the first.

Southampton were struggling to avoid relegation from the Premier League, but they had done pretty well so far in the FA Cup. They’d beaten Fulham (1-0), Watford (1-0), West Bromwich Albion (2-1) and Wigan Athletic (2-0) to make it to the semi-final stage.

The Saints also had some history in this competition, having won it in 1976. Today though they were up against seven-time winners Chelsea FC. Mark Hughes was going to need a gritty, disciplined performance from his team today, to get past Chelsea to the final.

Since the last rollercoaster meeting between these two teams, Chelsea had earned a creditable 2-1 away win against Burnley, and Southampton had kept their first clean sheet in four games in a goalless draw with Leicester City. […]

The weekend kicked off with an FA Cup fifth round tie: Chelsea vs Hull City, Premier League top four contenders v Championship strugglers.

Hull were twenty-first of the twenty-four teams in the Sky Bet Championship as at the start of play, a full thirty-seven places below Chelsea, who were fourth in the EPL.

However the visitors were in slightly better form than their hosts, albeit against weaker opposition. They’d won two and drawn one of their last five games in all competitions, including a 2 – 1 win over Nottingham Forest in the previous round of the FA Cup.

Chelsea were going through a pretty difficult patch, at least for a club their size. They’d lost to Arsenal, Bournemouth and Watford in their last five games. They did beat Newcastle United 3 – 0 in the FA Cup, and West Brom by the same scoreline in the league, but it was still a bad run of results for them. […]

Back to the bridge now for the fourth instalment of the Chelsea-Arsenal derby this season. The occasion this time, the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Bristol City played well in the other semi-final, but failed to upset Manchester City at the Etihad. If there was going to be a surprise at Stamford Bridge, it would be one of the teams actually winning the game – every time Chelsea and Arsenal have met this season, once in the Community Shield (1 – 1), twice in the league (0 – 0 & 2 – 2), it’s ended up a draw.

Another weird Chelsea-Arsenal 2017/18 fact – it’s been a pretty good fixture for full backs. Four of the six goals in their games so far this season were scored by full backs: Victor Moses, Sead Kolasinac, Marcos Alonso and Hector Bellerin. […]

Arsenal were down in sixth place, seven points behind Chelsea in third, six points behind Liverpool in the last Champions League spot – this particular derby was a must win game for them.

The game started at a relatively moderate pace, and Chelsea had the better early chances. But after referee Anthony Taylor wrongly gave a free kick for a Lacazette dive off a Kante tackle, the Arsenal players seemed to gain confidence and started ripping into their visitors at pace.

Chelsea responded with their own counterattacks, and the game devolved into an attacking free-for-all, with both sides creating brilliant chances, and only failing to score in the first half due to the dazzling form of their goalkeepers. Or in Chelsea’s case, finishing so weak, it made you scratch your head. […]

Chelsea were in a 3-5-2 today, with Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta in defence. N’golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas were just ahead of them in midfield.

It wasn’t the most aggressive line-up but even taking that into account, they started this game pretty sluggishly. It was almost as if the players were recovering from a really heavy Christmas dinner.

Brighton set up in two defensive lines of four and five, with Tomer Hemed as the lone striker up top. They showed much more energy and desire than the home side in the first half, as well as a willingness to get forward in numbers when the opportunity presented itself.

For a midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko gets into a lot of good positions to score, and he had a great opening early on – but he wasn’t able to get the right contact to put his shot on target. […]

The game looked like it was going to extra time – but apparently nobody told Alvaro Morata, who just two minutes later, sadly ruined the Cherries’ comeback with a really, really inconvenient goal.

Well he might have scored it, but this goal was really all about Eden Hazard. He blazed into the box straight from the kick-off to receive a long cross from Davide Zappacosta.

Then duplicating Kenedy, having made himself the decoy Hazard back-heeled for Morata, who was steaming in behind him to whip it off Boruc and into the net. 2 – 1! It was the ultimate sucker punch, both the move specifically and the goal in the context of the match. […]

It was matchday 15 of the 2017 season. Ex-Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United were in London for the first league game of the weekend, against his former club.

November had turned to December, and as Chelsea’s players returned from injury, and Antonio Conte settled on his favoured shape and starting line-up, his team’s defensive inconsistencies were fading into memory.

Newcastle’s recent form was relatively similar to that of the last visitors to Stamford Bridge, Swansea City. They had four losses and one draw from their last five games – but they sat twelfth, much higher up the league table than the eighteenth placed Welsh side.

Chelsea were in third, with four wins and one draw from their last five league games. They had a chance today to draw level on points with second placed Manchester United – if they could take all three points today. […]