Chelsea's 2017 Review: A return to glory

Chelsea's 2017 Review: A return to glory

Chelsea's 2017 was marked with another Premier League title after a disappointing 2016.

Harry Harris

Looking back on 2017 for Chelsea, it was a year full of positives as opposed to their 2016. Antonio Conte's first season in charge of the Blues was marked with a Premier League title as Chelsea captured their second league title in three years. 

The second half of 2017 didn't begin as Chelsea would've hoped as injuries and poor results piled upon one another, leaving them second in the league but quite a distance behind the league leaders Manchester City.

Covered in Glory

Chelsea's 2017 high point came in May, as Michy Batshuayi prodded home a late winner against West Brom to secure the return of the Premier League title to West London. While a heartbreaking defeat in the 2017 FA Cup Final to rivals Arsenal put a damper on celebrations, Conte's first season in charge was still a roaring success. 

N'Golo Kante was crowned the PFA's Player of the Year, with his teammate Eden Hazard finishing as the runner up. As a club, Chelsea were able to break the record for the most wins in a Premier League season, emerging victorious 30 times over the course of the season. While the Blues didn't have European football to worry about, due to an abysmal 2016 season, they were ruthless domestically and were rewarded with a fifth Premier League title in their history. 

The end of the 2016/17 campaign didn't come without a low point as long-time captain and academy product John Terry left the club after 19 years with the first team. Terry's departure marked the end of an era for Chelsea, and a key piece of their identity that they'd have to replace sooner rather than later.

For Antonio Conte and Chelsea, the first half of 2017 treated them remarkably well as the Italian took the league by storm with his "3 at the back" tactics that seemed unstoppable at times.

Far from ideal

It wasn't long after their Premier League title win that Chelsea were nervously looking ahead to the coming season. Eden Hazard's broken ankle while on international duty ruled him out for the first two months of the season. In the meantime, lengthy battles in the transfer market saw Chelsea sign Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko to headline their summer shopping. The summer also saw the likes of Nemanja Matic, Nathan Ake and Asmir Begovic leave the club for Man United and Bournemouth respectively. 

Chelsea kicked off the season with a penalty shootout defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield, before their title defence opened up with a shock 3-2 defeat to Burnley at Stamford Bridge. As the season progressed, it was clear Chelsea were longing for the return of their talisman Eden Hazard and his return seemed to spark life into Chelsea. The Blues managed a second place finish in their Champions League group, including an impressive away win over Atletico Madrid, as well as progression into the Carabao Cup Semi Final. 

As the year comes to a close, Chelsea sit in second, which wouldn't seem too terrible if the league leaders didn't leave everyone in the dust as they have already.

Best player

Eden Hazard/N'Golo Kante

It's tough to decide between Hazard and Kante, but both were instrumental in the title win and their presence has been sorely missed in stages this season. With Kante winning the PFA Player of the Year, he may get the edge here but without Hazard, it's tough to see this Chelsea side creating much going forward.

Most Disappointing Player

Diego Costa

In 2017, the most disappointing player for Chelsea has to go to Diego Costa. Did the striker play his part in securing the league title? Yes, but he is troublesome relationship with Conte emerged as a headline in early January and never went away until he was sold to Atletico Madrid.

Best Moment of the Year

Michy Batshuayi vs West Brom

After falling out of favor with his manager all season, Batshuayi saw his chances limited throughout the title-winning campaign. He was trusted to make an impact as a sub against West Brom late in the season and he managed to bundle home Cesar Azpilicueta's cross to not only win the game, but clinch the title at the same time. A great moment for Batshuayi and the club.

Worst Moment of the Year

2017 FA Cup Final.

After the celebrations of the Premier League triumph died down, Chelsea turned their attention to the FA Cup Final against Arsenal. A controversial early goal pegged Chelsea back before Diego Costa equalised, but Aaron Ramsey's late winner sealed the deal for Arsenal, denying Antonio Conte a double in his debut season.

What to Expect in 2018

2018 should be full of headlines for Chelsea as they continue to fight for a top 4 spot in the league. A thrilling Champions League draw against old foes Barcelona awaits them in the early parts of the year, as well as a potential Carabao Cup Final. 

The Blues will also have a fight to keep Eden Hazard at the club as numerous reports continue to link him with a move away, but Chelsea have shown no signs of letting the Belgian go. After letting the title slip from their hands this season, Chelsea should expect to hit Manchester City right back in 2018.