Chelsea’s recent performances in the Premier League
The 2021/22 Premier League season is only just over a third complete but has already been full of drama, both on the pitch and off of it. One of the biggest stories so far is undoubtedly what has been going on at Manchester United. A side who were for so long synonymous with success and trophies have been struggling for a long time now, but all their issues came to a head in recent weeks, with a number of dreadful performances against Liverpool, Manchester City and worst of all Watford. It meant that Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer was relieved of his duties, being replaced by Ralf Rangnick.
Solskjaer isn’t the only manager to have lost his job, as we’ve seen managerial changes at Newcastle, Aston Villa, Watford, and Tottenham too. Antonio Conte has taken over Spurs and has slowly turned their form around. Before he took charge, they were a real outsider in the betting odds to make it into the top 4, which means qualification for the Champions League. Now, with his diligent managerial skills, they now have much more favourable odds to seize that 4th spot.
It does seem like there are a number of teams fighting over the final Champions League place, such as Tottenham, Manchester United, West Ham and Arsenal. That is because the top 3 of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea already seem to be odds on to finish in the top 3. Prety much all of the top online sportsbooks would agree, as the betting odds are already incredibly short for these 3 to stay where they are, even if the order of 1st, 2nd and 3rd might change frequently in the coming months. If you manage to bet correctly on the league winner at this stage, then you clearly know something the rest of us don’t!
Chelsea are an interesting side, especially when you consider that only a year ago they were in terrible form. Former star midfielder Frank Lampard was in charge, but was really struggling to get good performances from his expensively assembled team. It was no surprise that Lampard was fired, and replaced by Thomas Tuchel, who immediately lifted spirits, and took them to Champions League glory.
So, how are they faring this year? Currently, they are in 3rd place, a point behind Liverpool and 2 behind Man City. Let’s take a look at their season so far, and predict where they might finish come the end of this season.
Imperious early form had the Blues top of the table
For the first 10 games or so of the season, Chelsea were the team that everyone was hoping to catch, with all the betting stats showing what a strong side they were. They won their first 2 games with ease, brushing aside their London rivals Crystal Palace (3-0) and Arsenal (2-0) without any difficulty whatsoever. They then had their first real test of the season, against title rivals Liverpool.
Chelsea took the lead through a Kai Havertz header but were pinned back when Mo Salah scored a penalty, following a handball from Reece James. The game ended 1-1, but Tuchel would have been the happier manager given they had 10 men for most of the game.
Two routine 3-0 wins followed against Aston Villa and Tottenham before they suffered their first defeat of the season against their other title rival, Man City. Here, it was a Gabriel Jesus goal that was the difference between the 2 sides.
Some teams would have let this loss affect them in a negative way, but instead it seemed to spur Chelsa on, as they went on a great run, beating Southampton, Brentford, Norwich and Newcastle in their next 4 fixtures. At the same time, City and Liverpool dropped points, meaning Chelsea went to the top of the table, and became the odds-on favourite for the title.
Build up of injuries coming at just the wrong time
As long as teams can keep their best players fit, they will usually be able to carry on their good form. Unfortunately for Chelsea, they have lost a number of key individuals in the last few weeks. Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have all missed multiple games up top, whilst in midfield, N’golo Kante, Mateo Kovavic and Jorginho have been absent for a number of games. The biggest loss of all is Ben Chilwell at left wing-back, and it sadly looks like he’ll be missing until the new year at least.
These injuries have contributed to a drop in form, with draws against Burnley and Manchester United being followed by a win against Watford, even if Tuchel said it was their worst performance of the season. That sentiment only lasted a few days, as in their most recent match they lost 3-2 to West Ham. Now, the odds for them to win the league have gotten ever so slightly longer.
As Liverpool and Manchester City both won, Chelsea dropped down to 3rd. Of course, they are only 2 points off the top, so it certainly isn’t the time to be panicking just yet. Hopefully, their injured players will start to return in the next few games, so they can move up the table once again.