Chelsea are currently top of the Premier League and look the team to beat, but this won’t be a shock to owner Roman Abramovich as he watches his masterful plan come to life.
Chelsea are sat at the top of the Premier League table on 25 points after 10 games played, but their journey to the top has been carefully planned.
The Blues lifted the Champions League trophy at the end of last season thanks to a goal by Kai Havertz in a 1-0 win over Manchester City, a victory that marked the progress that Roman Abramovich’s club has made in recent history – more specifically, the last six years.
On the 3rd November 2015, Chelsea were 15th in the Premier League and John Terry reeled off a memorable rant about how he wouldn’t accept
criticism from pundits who had ‘played at a really bad level throughout their career’, before naming Robbie Savage as an example.
The Blues have, obviously, turned things around,
but what are the key points in the rebuild?
Kante signs from Leicester
Although it doesn’t seem six years ago, N’Golo Kante left then-Premier League title holders Leicester City in favour of a move to Stamford Bridge.
The £32million signing has been crucial for Chelsea in years gone by, with his energy and defensive ability making him a near-impossible task to get past.
Kante has been one of the best in his position for the last six years and without him then it is hard to see who would have replaced the 30-year-old in all of their successes.
Conte coming and going
The season after Terry’s outburst, Chelsea lifted the league title. Manager Antonio Conte was appointed midway through the season before and had free reign to adapt the team as he wished.
The Italian implemented the 3-4-3 for one of the first times in Premier League history, and it produced superb results.
Chelsea won the league that season with 93 points, setting a Premier League record for the most wins in a single campaign (38).
But very quickly things turned sour for the former Juventus campaign as in the following season his side really struggled and could only manage a fifth-place finish.
Opposition sides ensured that their wingers were more defensive to prevent overloads, they had one or two defensive-minded midfielders to deal with the inverted wingers and players were wary of the attacking centre-backs.
Conte was sacked at the end of the season, showing that Abramovich had no loyalties and if he felt a plan wasn’t working or executed successfully then a complete change is required.
Lampard the short-term inspiration
Whether Chelsea fans like it or not, Frank Lampard played a major role in their recent success in the few years that he spent sitting in their dugout.
The Englishman was appointed Blues boss in the summer of 2019 and instantly put an emphasis on bringing youth players into the first team setup – with Reece James, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori the main beneficiaries.
In the following window, Lampard signed Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell, but Lampard’s side slipped down the table after a good start to the season and the club legend was sacked in January 2021.
The talent that Lampard signed and also brought through the ranks have made up the majority of Chelsea’s winning machine and they may be in a very different state currently if it wasn’t for the former Derby County boss.
Tuchel is the right man to finish the job
There aren’t many better managers in world football than Thomas Tuchel, and his appointment in January earlier this year has taken the Blues up to the next level.
The German’s 3-4-2-1 system allows for his side to put plenty of bodies behind the ball when under the cosh, but also be a frightening force in the final third with runners from all angles.
Tuchel’s tactics were pivotal in Chelsea’s progression through the late stages of the Champions League last season, adjusting his players and system slightly for every fixture.
The former PSG boss only needed a forward to be successful this season, and he was granted his wish when Abramovich provided him with target man Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.
Abramovich laid out the foundations for a squad to be successful throughout the last six years, but you cannot help but feel that the Russian owner was expecting silverware at around this point.