Chelsea’s final English Premier League outing of the season ended in a catastrophic defeat in the North East on Sunday.
Their poor finish to the campaign has confirmed which European competition they shall be competing in next season.
With this year’s FIFA World Cup less than a month away from starting, several of The Blues’ players discovered whether they have made the cut or not.
The club held its annual awards evening last Thursday, where all of Chelsea’s major club award-winners were announced.
Finally, one of The Blues’ wingers has been shortlisted for a national award for his spectacular goal in January.
Chelsea fan and Football Journalism student Jonty Colman looks at the five major talking points from around the club this week.
Newcastle United 3-0 Chelsea
Admittedly, Antonio Conte’s side knew that even if they had beaten Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Sunday, Brighton and Hove Albion had to do the impossible and win at Anfield, which they failed spectacularly.
Despite failing to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, it would have been nice if Chelsea gave the travelling fans something to cheer about on Tyneside.
After Dwight Gayle scored what could only be described as a Sunday League goal midway through the first half, Blues supporters got the feeling that it was going to be a long afternoon. Ayoze Perez’s second half brace secured the victory for Newcastle United, the second of which came courtesy of an embarrassingly badly defended set piece.
Chelsea haven’t deserved to finish in the top four this season and their performance against Newcastle United virtually summarised their entire campaign.
Thursday night football
The Blues’ fifth place finish in the league means that they will be competing in the UEFA Europa League next season.
It will be the first time that Chelsea have competed in the competition since the 2012/2013 campaign, when even though they started that season in the UEFA Champions League, they went onto win the trophy under interim manager, Rafael Benitez.
Whilst it is a disappointment to drop down to Europe’s second-tier competition, it is all that The Blues have deserved this year. It means that supporters may be treated to Thursday night away days to some exotic locations, such as Liege, Prague or even Akhisar.
World Cup selections
On the field, it has been a disappointing week for Chelsea but the same cannot be said off it.
Seven of their players have this week learned that they have either made the confirmed squad, or the preliminary squad for their respective nations for next month’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Willian will be part of the final 23-man squad for Brazil, whilst club captain Gary Cahill and current on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, have made England’s confirmed squad. Antonio Rudiger has made Germany’s preliminary squad while Willy Caballero has also done the same with Argentina.
Breakout star, Andreas Christensen has made Denmark’s 35-man shortlist, whilst on-loan Spartak Moscow midfielder, Mario Pasalic, is amongst Croatia’s preliminary line-up. Nigeria’s 30-man shortlist includes Victor Moses and on-loan duo, Ola Aina and Kenneth Omeruo, who have spent the past season with Hull City and Kasimpasa respectively.
I shall keep you updated in the coming weeks when more squads are announced.
2018 Awards Night
Last Thursday evening, Chelsea hosted their annual Player of the Year awards.
Here are this year’s award winners:
Yokohama Chelsea Player of the Year – N’Golo Kante
Players’ Player of the Year – Willian
Chelsea Young Player of the Year – Andreas Christensen
Goal of the Season – Willian v Brighton (a)
Chelsea Ladies Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year – Fran Kirby
Academy Player of the Year – Reece James
Goal of the season nomination
Not only did Willian’s superb strike against Brighton and Hove Albion win the club’s Goal of the Season award, but he has also been nominated for Carling Goal of the Season award.
Here is who the Brazilian will be competing against for the accolade:
August: Charlie Daniels (AFC BOURNEMOUTH v Manchester City)
September: Antonio Valencia (MANCHESTER UNITED v Everton)
October: Sofiane Boufal (SOUTHAMPTON v West Bromwich Albion)
November: Wayne Rooney (EVERTON v West Ham United)
December: Jermain Defoe (Crystal Palace v AFC BOURNEMOUTH)
January: Willian (Brighton and Hove Albion v CHELSEA)**
February: Victor Wanyama (Liverpool v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR)
March: Jamie Vardy (West Bromwich Albion v LEICESTER CITY)
April: Christian Eriksen (Chelsea v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR)
That’s all for this week, join us again next Thursday for two special instalments of The Stamford Roar!