Chelsea season review: 2018/19 – Maurizio Sarri wars, Jorginho fights, Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard’s special season

The 2018/19 season was certainly an interesting season with many highs and lows for Chelsea Football Club, a new manager in Maurizio Sarri, a makeshift team with many players’ futures uncertain but with many great moments leading the club to a third place finish in the Premier League, winning the UEFA Europa League and reaching the Carabao Cup final.

Signings were made at the start of the 18/19 season. With incomings of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Rob Green, we also saw departures with Thibaut Courtois before the start of the season and Cesc Fàbregas in the January transfer window.

Premier League – 3rd

It was a rollercoaster of a season with many highs and lows. In the first couple months, Maurizio Sarri made his mark as the Blues went on a 12 game unbeaten run. This run included a 4-1 win against Cardiff, a 3-0 comfortable win against Southampton and a 4-0 crushing of Burnley.

But then the inevitable slip was going to occur at some point and came in a 3-1 loss to Tottenham. Less than a month later, they bounced back making a huge statement beating Manchester City in a glorious 2-0 victory, which snapped the Citizens’ 21-game unbeaten streak.

The darkness came in a four-game stretch in January, when Sarri’s Chelsea lost 2-0 away at Arsenal and a 4-0 embarrassment to Bournemouth. Only a few days after bouncing back with a 5-0 win against Huddersfield, the Blues went to the Etihad which ended horribly as we were humbled 6-0. Arguably one of the worst matches in the Roman Abramovich era.

But the poor run of form didn’t last for long as Chelsea bounced back again with a 2-0 win against Spurs at Stamford Bridge. This was soon followed with a 3-0 victory against Brighton with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Eden Hazard running the show with creative freedom that excited the Chelsea faithful.

Chelsea then rested for the remainder of their six league fixtures, winning just two games against West Ham and Watford. But it wasn’t costly with Arsenal and Manchester United dropping points; this put Chelsea in third with Champions League football secured for the following season.

It was a league campaign with many ups and downs. Albeit there were a few embarrassing games away from home, there were times where we were playing wonderful football, thrashing teams comfortably. It was a season with its supporters and detractors, but a third placed in the league behind Manchester City and Liverpool who were head and shoulders above everyone else, certainly should be commended.

Maurizio Sarri allowed Callum Hudson-Odoi to become a true first team player but struggled to win Chelsea fans over. Images courtesy of Getty Images
Maurizio Sarri allowed Callum Hudson-Odoi to become a true first team player but struggled to win Chelsea fans over. Images courtesy of Getty Images

FA Cup – Fifth Round

Maurizio Sarri certainly didn’t experience a great FA Cup campaign as Chelsea were knocked out in only the Fifth Round. After beating Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, we came up against a revitalised Manchester United team and lost 2-0 in a game that frustrated many Chelsea fans with toxic chants aimed towards the Blues boss in reaction to the substitutes he had made.

EFL Cup – Runners-up

For a so-called Mickey Mouse domestic cup, the Carabao Cup certainly didn’t half have its moments for Chelsea this season. With a brilliant solo goal from Eden Hazard against Liverpool, to the spirited encounter with Frank Lampard’s Derby County, to the penalty shootout encounter against Tottenham Hotspur. It had it all.

The final against Manchester City was one to forget. Especially for Sarri and Kepa Arrizabalaga who had an altercation as the goalkeeper refused to come off which came much to the frustration of the Blues boss.

A scrappy 0-0 performance in 120 minutes which took us to the penalty shootout where the Blues stumbled.

Europa League – Winners

With Chelsea easing from the group stages to the final, it was most definitely a final which will go down in the clubs’ history.

Up against Unai Emery’s Arsenal in the final in Baku, it was a final that the Blues had to win. Sarri ended the season winning his first major honour as Eden Hazard also played his last game for the club. It was arguably the best performance of the season as a scintillating display destroyed Arsenal with a brace from Eden Hazard and goals from Olivier Giroud and Pedro.

Chelsea’s triumph brought them their fifth European title and first since they won the Europa League in Amsterdam in 2013.

Best player

A season which saw many Chelsea players burst onto the scene; with the likes of Giroud, Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi. But the best player was undoubtedly Eden Hazard. With 16 goals and 15 assists in the Premier League alone, he was quite clearly the most important and effective player.

Game after game, he came up trumps. Having to play alongside players like Morata, Higuain and Willian, it’s scary to think the Belgian could’ve put up much higher numbers had he played alongside deadly attackers.

Manager rating

A manager in Maurizio Sarri who was certainly divided between the fanbase for his stubbornness to change tactics and with his repetitive substitutions. Not to forget the embarrassing defeats away against City, Bournemouth and Arsenal etc.

Considering it was his first and only season at Chelsea with the team he inherited, a third place in the Premier League while also reaching two Cup finals certainly isn’t bad at all. He got the best out of Eden Hazard, developed a few youngsters and achieved what the board had expected. Not bad at all.

7/10.

Written by Vikram Jajuha (@CFCVik)

Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)

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