It’s been a long old season, interrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak. But here we are at the end of July at the business end of the season. This time last year we were all predicting what we realistically expected from this season.
Eden Hazard had departed for pastures new, and the club were facing up to a transfer ban. Frank Lampard has been installed as Maurizio Sarri’s replacement with growing belief that the Blues young crop of stars would get a chance to prove themselves. Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James, and to a lesser extent the talented Billy Gilmour, have all tasted first-team football. Many of them on a regular basis.
Taking all the factors in what did we really expect? Top-six? A decent cup run? Here we are with two premier league games to go sitting third, and yesterday Lampard’s charges showed everyone exactly what we are capable of by reaching the FA Cup Final after a fabulous performance saw us convincingly beat Manchester United 3-1. What was particularly interesting is it showed progress from the three previous performances against the Red Devils. Three defeats were hard to swallow. The intensity and workrate showed what that Lampard had learned from previous mistakes.
The Blues’ legend is only in his second season of management, a novice in the world of football leadership. But he already shows the credentials needed to reach the very top. Dispensing with David Luiz’s services showed the former midfielder is not to be taken lightly. Decisions haven’t always been correct, but Lampard has showed he has a plan B, and a plan C and so on. Not afraid to change systems when needed.
With a trip to Liverpool on Wednesday, Lampard described the final three matches of the domestic season as ‘Cup Finals’. He’s not wrong. Confidence will be even higher after top-four rivals Leicester City were beaten by Tottenham. A result that we would never usually wish for, but under the circumstances made it an even better day to be a Chelsea fan.
It’s not over yet, but in my opinion this season has been a joy. There’s still improvements to be made to the squad, but yesterday showed how it’s all been worth it so far. The rollercoaster continues.