It seems every football fan around the world is celebrating Leicester City’s Premier League title-winning season apart from Tottenham supporters but Chelsea’s fan base won’t be enjoying it much either. Last season, Jose Mourinho guided an unstoppable team to the league glory for the club’s fifth time and Chelsea’s side were praised as one of the best to win the league in modern football. However, a year on, the Blues have slumped to ninth position in the league with three games to go and have seen their season end without silverware. ‘The Special One’ was given the sack in December, as his side battled in the relegation zone and since then, Guus Hiddink has tried to revive their season, gradually helping Chelsea grind their way back into the top half of the table.
Chelsea’s Premier League success a year ago was largely down to the incredible form of 2014-15 PFA Player of the Year, Eden Hazard. The Belgian has struggled to make the starting XI this season after a dismal campaign and he’s just one of a few Chelsea stars who seemed to have disappeared during the summer of 2015. The reasons for their serious drop in form is almost as mysterious as Leicester’s title claim and it seems the entire squad, not just one player, is to blame for one of their worst seasons since Abramovitch’s arrival. Claudio Raneiri would’ve dreamed of returning to Chelsea to manage the side which grabbed the Premier League trophy last season but after the performances of his side during the 2015-16 season, there’s not a chance the Italian would swap his Leicester side for Chelsea’s and it’s easy to see why. Here’s just a few of the Chelsea stars of last year who have had seasons to forget…
Last season’s best player in the Premier League was Eden Hazard. His dribbling skills, creative play and goal-scoring ability took Chelsea to another level last season. He was unstoppable and in every game he posed a serious threat for the opposition. The midfielder has scored just three Premier League goals this season compared to 14 last year (21 in all competitions) and has made just 22 starts for Chelsea in their dismal campaign. The playmaker recorded the highest number of dribbles and chances created last year and was amongst the top players for completed passes and duels won.
Chelsea’s defensive midfielder was one of the most praised players of their campaign last year and it’s easy to see why. The Serbian made the most tackles in the Premier League (101,) almost 20 more than any other player, and was crucial in keeping Chelsea’s defence protected. His performances gave confidence in Chelsea’s midfield and allowed Fabregas, Costa and Hazard to move freely with the guarantee of protection. This season, he’s made less appearances, been substituted on more occasions and has struggled to make it into the side’s starting XI towards the end of the campaign.
Fabregas hasn’t necessarily had a poor season in comparison to his team-mates but he was so influential last season that his lack of contribution this year seems to have impacted the side greatly. The former Barcelona midfielder made almost 300 more touches than any other Premier League player during the 2014-15 season and that meant he had time and space to created chances for Chelsea. He made more assists than any other player (18) and provided the most from open play (11.) Only Theirry Henry with 20 assists in 2002-3 has held a better record. With Eden Hazard leading the way, Fabregas helped Chelsea create chances and the two Blue men topped the statistic charts, creating 190 goal-scoring opportunities between them.
It’s easy to forget who Chelsea’s main striker is this season because Diego Costa has barely contributed. The controversial forward scored 20 goals last season and finished third in the league’s top goal-scorer chart behind Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero. It wasonly the fourth time a Chelsea player had reached 20 goals in one season with Hasselbank, Drogba and Lampard being the other three players to achieve the feat. This year, he’s been injured, suspended or invisible for most of the year and there’s been more news surrounding his behaviour on the pitch than his heroics. With just 11 Premier League goals and only 28 league appearances on record this year, Costa’s influence on Chelsea has been seriously disappointing.
Chelsea’s club captain and long-serving defender, John Terry was crucial to Chelsea’s title-winning campaign last season. He became only the second outfield player to complete a Premier League title-winning season by playing every minute for his side and topped it off by becoming the league’s all-time highest scoring defender on 39 goals. This season, he’s been injured and hasn’t been able to keep the impressive clean sheets record Chelsea maintained to win the title.