Opinion

The Feel Chelsea season review continues with our third writer. Next up, is Farkhanda Jabeen with her thoughts on how 2017-18 went.

Farkhanda Jabeen

Feel Chelsea: Hello, hello! Shall we begin? Right, tell us how you thought Chelsea did and how would you rate the season out of 10.

Farkhanda Jabeen: A totally unimpressive season on the whole – failure in defence, failure in midfield, and for the first half it was a complete failure in attack too. It’s become casual for the Blues to experience some crisis-like situation in their post-title season. The only positive of the season was winning the FA Cup. I’d rate it 5/10.

FC: Still, someone must have kept their head above the water. Who is your Player of the Season?

FJ: N’Golo Kante. The central midfielder has not only served as box to box midfielder in the second half of the season but also in facilitating the team’s newly adopted attacking style i.e. counterattacking, especially during key transitional phases. The 27-year-old has remarkable work rate and game reading skills due to which he can be considered as the fulcrum for Chelsea. While Hazard has often saved Chelsea by showing his talent in the attacking third, Kante has done so in all the regions and all the phases of the game.

FC: Everyone loves N’Golo, that’s for sure. And they all love goals. What was your Goal of the Season?

FJ: Giroud vs Southampton in the FA Cup Semifinal.

FC: Woof! That’s a good shout. Now, time to judge the newbies. Who is your Signing of the Season?

FJ: Olivier Giroud. It can’t be anyone other than the number real nine. Finally we have one after Diego Costa. The striker is a key finishing element which Chelsea has been lacking ever since the Spaniard left. He has enabled the Blues to score out of a compact defence and signalled the start of a very promising partnership with Hazard.

FC: And he has a fantastic beard, too. Let’s talk about something not fantastic, and that is the Worst Player of the season.

FJ: Gary Cahill. The Blues’ skipper was out of form throughout the season. Showing lack of reading ability of the opponent’s moves and lack of one-on-one defending ability in the wider zones, the England international has failed the Chelsea defence this season. He has been expected to perform at least a little better.

FC: Well, I’d say he’s not the only one who performed well below expectations. Even so, what was your Favourite Moment?

FJ: Pedro’s winning goal against Leicester in extra time of the FA Cup Quarter Final. The goal was the outcome of a timely and clever coordination among Hazard, Kante, Pedro, and even Moses. First Hazard and Kante pulled defenders at the depth and the half space respectively. This as well as Moses pulling out his opponent defender at the width opened space for Pedro at the depth to bump towards the goal and convert the high pass from Kante. This was the kind of a highly tactical attacking coordination I have been looking forward to see from Chelsea at least once – pulling defenders to create spaces.

FC: Whoa! That is great stuff. And I hate to do this, but what was your Worst Moment from 2017-18?

FJ: Conceding the equaliser against Barcelona in Champions League Round of 16, first leg. Willian’s goal was wiped away by Chelsea’s one-off defensive sloppiness right in front of the goal.

FC: That really was a sucker punch. Now, final question for you. Which camp are you in – Conte In or Conte Out?

FJ: The Italian has managed to make the best out of the seemingly incompetent squad by winning those two pieces of silverware in his two seasons. His only limit is to have better players signed. So it eventually comes to the authority he would be given in terms of spending on better players. If his signing authority is not to be restricted as it was in the last two seasons, Conte in; if not, Conte out.

FC: Quite the measured response, then. It has been fun talking to you, Farkhanda. Thank you for your time!

FJ: Likewise.