13th in the league, the championship out of sight, and their very own “special one” supposedly on the verge of a move to Manchester one day soon. It’d be fair to say that Chelsea football club have seen happier times.
However, is the worst of their season finally behind them? Diego Costa’s injury-time equaliser at Stamford Bridge last weekend might well be looked back on in future as the point where everything changed for the better in 2015/16. Perhaps Chelsea will be able to achieve a top-four finish after all?
How? Well, by winning their remaining games of course – and while there are some tough fixtures to come (not least the league leaders Leicester City on the final day of the season) it is not beyond the realms of possibility for the blues to sneak their way into the Champions League slots for 2016/17.
Guus Hiddink was a shrewd and intelligent appointment. He has steadied a ship that was sinking at an alarmingly quickened rate, and now that the players have adapted to his playing style, the stars who have failed to perform to their best on a regular basis this season – Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Eden Hazard to name a few – can all recapture their formerly exceptional form. Unlike Manchester City and Manchester United, Chelsea isn’t facing the distraction of managerial change and speculation. With the exception of the Champions League match against Paris St Germain F.C., they can concentrate solely on the league – a ‘luxury’ that other teams in the top four cannot enjoy. Arsenal’s push for the title is slowly beginning to crumble; whereas Manchester United, Southampton and West Ham have been inconsistent all season.
Chelsea’s final league position will depend a lot on whether the men in their defensive line can step it up a gear. John Terry is officially moving on now, and he’ll be doing his utmost to ensure his final few matches are ones that his fans will remember fondly. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is a handy man to have between the posts to say the least, and if he finds some form he can spearhead Chelsea’s late charge towards the top four.
Recent results mean the squad are gaining confidence across the board, and – slowly but surely – they’re beginning to look a million miles away from the side that folded so easily under Jose Mourinho in the first half of the season.
Chelsea are going to have to make history in order to reach the top four this season, but they have the players and the pedigree to do it. Betting against it is easy, but putting money on Chelsea to claim a Champions League place might just be the smartest punt you make all season. Anything is possible in the Premier League.