The season has ended and it’s time to take stock of the past nine months or so. We have a highly opinionated group of writers here at Feel Chelsea, and so we decided to ask them what they thought about Antonio Conte’s second (and probably final) season. For the next few days, we’ll be bringing you their verdict about Chelsea’s 2017-18 season.
We’ll start with Lase Laleye, who covers CFC Women for Feel Chelsea. Here are his thoughts.
Feel Chelsea: Hello Lase, how are you? Let’s get right to it. Tell us what you think about Chelsea’s season and you much you would rate it out of 10.
Lase: An utterly underwhelming second half of the season that undid any quiet optimism that had appeared before Christmas. Winning the FA Cup was at least a positive end. I’d give it a 5/10.
FC: Can’t say I disagree. Now, despite the general apathy, there must be someone who stood out. Who is your Player of the Season?
L: It has to be N’Golo Kante. It’s hard to remember the last time he had a bad game, always diligently doing his job. One of the few players whose level didn’t drop from last season.
FC: Fair enough. Let’s talk about goals. What was your Goal of the Season?
L: Willian vs Brighton. Gorgeous interplay between Willian, Hazard and Batshuayi, with a couple of beautiful flicks before Willian bludgeoned the ball into the net. A goal of real quality.
FC: That it was. Let’s move on to the next question. Who is your Signing of the Season?
L: Olivier Giroud. He may have only come in on the last day of the January transfer window, but once he got fully fit the Frenchman made a huge contribution in getting the team to the FA Cup final and giving us the small hope that we could get into the top 4.
FC: Not to mention, he’s got the looks to go with it. Anyway, there were quite a few players who stunk the place out. Who would you say, was the Worst Player?
L: Can’t look further than Tiémoué Bakayoko. He looked completely out of his depth on multiple occasions this year, culminating in the car crash of a 30 minutes away at Watford in which he kept giving the ball away before eventually getting sent off.
FC: Succinctly summarised. Now, your Favourite Moment from this season. Go on.
L: Away win at Atletico. It may be hard to imagine now, but early on in the season, Chelsea looked like they could be a force again as they produced one of the best away performances from an English team in the Champions League. Dominating from first to last, Chelsea put in an enthusiastic performance, capped off by a well worked, last-gasp set-piece winner that was prodded in by Michy Batshuayi (remember him?).
FC: I do remember him, actually. Hope he gets a chance here next season. But what was your Worst Moment from last season?
L: The non-performance away at Manchester City & Conte’s post-match comments. We already knew it would be a bad day when it was announced N’Golo Kante would miss the game through illness, but when the 90 minutes were over, it could be argued the whole squad missed the game too. The scoreline may have only been 1-0 but it was a completely one-sided game in which Chelsea failed to lay a glove on the eventual champions who were content to pass it around themselves without much resistance. Compounding the awful day, Antonio Conte defended his side’s performance claiming it was better to play like that and lose by 1 goal than to play differently and lose by more.
FC: Yeah, that was bad. Now, final question. Are you Conte In or Conte Out?
L: Conte In. In a landscape where Chelsea can’t compete financially with other clubs for the top players, the manager’s role is much more important. If Conte is sacked now, there is no other manager on the market who compares to Conte on a tactical level.
FC: That’s all we have for now. Thank you for talking to us!