Dark Horse Chronicles – Chelsea

After a two-week hiatus we make our way back to the Premier League. This week’s Darkhorse is Chelsea, who I’m sure will have many of you perplexed. However, I would like to remind you that Chelsea’s recent form has been less than stellar. In the 2017-2018 series they finished 5th placed almost 30 points beneath eventual-winners Manchester City. In the 2015-2016 Chelsea barely made the top half finishing in 10th place finishing 31 points below Leicester City’s win. Chelsea has made it a habit of seemingly coming from nowhere and taking the win, as they showed with their 10th to 1st place 2016-2017 before falling again. Chelsea’s recent form has indicated that every 4-5 years they manage a title, so we are getting close to their return to form.

If Chelsea maintains their current pace, they are projected to approach 89 points in the Premier League, which in 4 of the last 5 seasons (there’s a reason Manchester City set a record with 100 points last year) would have been enough to win them the league. They would also be on track to record a substantial goal total, 84 and to only concede 30 goals, leaving them with a massive +54 goal differential.

The Blues have played only 3 of 8 games against the big six and are coming off of a draw with Manchester United. Chelsea was ahead as early as the 21′ but gave up two goals in quick succession after half time, managing to secure a point only by a stoppage time goal by Ross Barkley.

All in all, Chelsea has played very well so far under Maurizio Sarri. They currently sit in 3rd place only because of their draw differential with the top two clubs, having drawn one more (and the others having won).

What’s Changed?
Mateo Kovacic – Kovacic came over as part of the Thibaut Courtois on a season long long agreement. He’s appeared in 8 Premier League games for 477 minutes so far this season and providing an assist.

Kepa Arrizabalaga – Kepa took over the title (only a few weeks after his successor received it) as the most expensive keeper in the world. In 9 games, he’s conceded 7 goals with 4 clean sheets — though his numbers are pretty good, Chelsea fans will desire more consistency and continued improvement.

Jorginho – Jorginho has played every minute on offer in the Premier League so far this season and has played pretty well. He’s also provided a goal for the blues, once he arrived, even in preseason the team looked far more settled. He’s been a calming presence on the field and has provided a little more freedom going forward for the attacking players.

Chelsea seems to be in a position to reassert their place in the Champions League after being relegated to the Europa League this year. The fans will have high expectations for Sarri going forward, but I think Chelsea is well equipped to provide some success now and in the future.

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