THOMAS TUCHEL WORKED WONDERS TO LEAD CHELSEA TO EUROPEAN GLORY AGAIN: SEASON GRADE, MVP, BEST/WORST MOMENT AND MORE
Chelsea came into the 2020-21 season, with the dual aims of improvement and silverware. They had reached the final of the FA Cup but lost out to arch-rivals Arsenal. Though they qualified for the Champions League by finishing fourth, that did not stop the Blues from having another massive summer. We at FootTheBall review how Chelsea fared this season.
✔️ Timo Werner
✔️ Hakim Ziyech
✔️ Ben Chilwell
✔️ Malang Sarr
✔️ Thiago Silva
✔️ Kai Havertz
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) September 4, 2020
The club brought in players worth over £200m, including German duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech, Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell, and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. PSG captain Thiago Silva also joined on a free transfer. With heavy expectations and no fans, the season panned out in the most surprising of fashions.
Their season began with a convincing 3-1 win over Brighton, but the Blues were defeated in the very next match by Liverpool. That marked the beginning of a rather unconvincing run of form that lasted till mid January with the sacking of Frank Lampard. In that period, they had lost six which was more the double of what they lost since the Englishman’s dismissal.
— Champions of Europe 🏆 (@ChelseaFC) January 26, 2021
Former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel was hired to turn the ship in January. The German made the Blues a defensive behemoth as the team kept 12 clean sheets in the final half of the season. Having been in and around the top four since February, they almost risked missing out on Champions League football for next season with two losses in their final three games. However, other results went their way and they clinched fourth spot which assured them a place amongst Europe’s elite once more. Not that they needed the help though.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) March 13, 2021
In the domestic cup competition, Chelsea had one bad and one very bad experience. They exited the Carabao Cup in the fifth round after a 5-4 penalty shootout loss to Spurs. The FA Cup saw them make it all the way to the final for the second consecutive season. However, that game ended in a similar heartbreak with the Blues going down 1-0 to Leicester City.
As it turned out, they had saved the best for last. Finishing atop their Champions League group, Chelsea made it all the way to the final. Along the way they defeated the two Madrid clubs and Porto to set up a date with Manchester City. A first half goal from Kai Havertz, his first in the competition, saw the club win the trophy for the second time in their history.
Premier League: 4th
Champions League: Winners
FA Cup: Fifth-Round
Carabao Cup: Runners-up
BEST MOMENT OF THE SEASON
MANCHESTER CITY 0-1 CHELSEA (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE)
What else but that night in Porto? Manchester City came into the match as favourites due to their total dominance of the league and number of star names. Chelsea’s poor end to the season further reduced the probability of the Blues’ chances. However, Tuchel’s tactical brilliance and set up of his team ensured they ended the night as champions.
🚫 Most clean sheets in a Champions League season:
They were strong at the back throughout the match with the dominance of Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta. N’Golo Kante made City’s creative threats ineffective while their wing backs were imperious both in attack and defence. The clinching goal came just before halftime.
Mason Mount’s sumptuous through ball found Havertz. The German knocked the ball around Ederson in goal before finishing it into the empty net. Chelsea held on despite the late barrage of attacks by City to lift the famous trophy nine years on from their first time. With this win, Tuchel also remained undefeated in all three meetings against the Manchester club this season.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 29, 2021
Honourable mentions- Manchester 1-2 Chelsea, Chelsea 2-0 Real Madrid
CHELSEA 2-5 WEST BROMWICH ALBION (PREMIER LEAGUE)
The most goals Chelsea conceded this season in all competitions. That too against that side that finished 19th in the league. Quite embarrassing for all involved. However, the warning signs were there after the first meeting itself. West Brom were up 3-0 then to eventually draw 3-3, with the final goal coming in the third minute of injury time.
Thiago Silva has played against WBA twice this season. In those games: Chelsea have conceded 5 goals and counting, he has committed an error leading to a goal and he has been sent off.
Rough. 😬 pic.twitter.com/pUzQZ8dyCy
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 3, 2021
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were up 1-0 before the wheels fell off. Thiago Silva was sent off at the half hour mark for a second bookable offence. West Brom striker Matheus Pereira scored twice in the first half injury time to turn the game around. They added a further three goals through Mbaye Diagne and Callum Robinson (two) after the break. Mount’s strike in between all of this provided scant consolation.
🤩Big Sam Masterclass. pic.twitter.com/tvSxw4ZZnC
— SPORF (@Sporf) April 3, 2021
This defeat is easily the worst of the lot for the Blues and Tuchel. It took a bit of shine off the German’s stifling defence and proved once again that there are no “expected” results in this league.
(dis)Honourable Mentions- Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea, Aston Villa 2-1 Chelsea
THE SEASON MVP
The English star had another superb campaign this term. He finished with nine goals and seven assists in all competitions, but it was so much more than just those. Mount was at the heart of all the good that flowed through the team’s midfield. His intelligent running, excellent vision and ability to deliver the ball saw him become the Englishman with most chances created across Europe.
Mason Mount’s game by numbers in the #UCLFinal:
100% long pass accuracy
96% pass accuracy
35 total touches
3 chances created
2 big chances created
1 foul won
The biggest of performances in the biggest of games. 💪 pic.twitter.com/CTKYEh4E36
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 29, 2021
Mount also set up the goal in the Champions League final. Though his teammates finished with better statistics, Mount was the hardest worker for the team. His talents have been praised by all coaches involved with him and the Euros is set to see his star hit another peak in terms of performances. In terms of his Chelsea career, fans will once again bank on him to deliver in the seasons to come.
Honourable Mentions- Kai Havertz, Edouard Mendy, N’Golo Kante
From 33 appearances in the league last year to…seven this term, it has been a steep fall for Chelsea’s record signing. The Spaniard would not have expected this himself, but the signing of Mendy has proved to be a masterstroke for the club. The former Rennes man was installed as number one where he went on to keep 16 clean sheets in the league, second only to Ederson. With a further nine in Europe, there is no doubt who will start in goal next season.
— Telegraph Sport (@TelegraphSport) February 10, 2021
Kepa has been relegated to domestic cup competitions, and he performed impressively by keeping four clean sheets in six matches in the FA Cup. However, this role is not what the ex-Bilbao man would have been hoping for so early in his career. His susceptibility to errors and lack of command in the penalty area has further made his return to number one harder, if he at all stays at the club.
(dis)Honourable Mentions- Hakim Ziyech, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud
With the addition of silverware, this season took a markedly upward turn for Chelsea. Though, they would have liked to challenge for the league better, Thomas Tuchel has been impressive during his six months. The end of season has also seen the club being linked with a whole host of star names including Harry Kane, Erling Haaland and former players Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard. Come next season, the Blues will once again be a dominant force in England and Europe.