Typically, in recent years, the rampant success of Chelsea FC has been all part of the Premier League narrative.
Over the past ten seasons, the Blues have won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, a League Cup, Champions League and Europa League. Their success has been eye-watering at times and, since Roman Abramovich’s takeover, they’ve competed as one of the best clubs in England.
This season, however, something has changed and Chelsea are no longer viewed as the dominant, all-winning force that they once were.
The narrative, it appears, has changed.
With Manchester City and Liverpool laying strong claims to being England’s best side, it would now seem that sane, rational football fans and pundits have turned to overlooking a team that has at times this season played championship-winning football just as successfully as their lauded counterparts.
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea deserve to be spoken about alongside the others in contention to win the 2018/19 Premier League. But, for whatever reason, they’re not. Sarri himself has said so: “I think now what I thought one week ago, that City and Liverpool are a step forward [from] us.”
This pessimistic refusal to stir up hope is characteristic of top-level managers but doesn’t explain the rest of the football world’s inability to view the Blues in the same light as Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola’s more attractive bets.
So far, they can boast of an identical record to Liverpool and City, with all three having won six and drawn two. Despite Liverpool’s supposedly prolific attacking prowess, Chelsea have scored more than the Reds and even have a greater goal difference.
Chelsea are unbeaten thus far but seemingly under the radar when unbeaten teams are discussed. If you weren’t paying attention, you might have been mistaken for thinking that only two sides have achieved this feat so far.
And with Eden Hazard, who “we have never seen 100%” of, in the squad, who knows what Chelsea are capable of? Against Southampton on Sunday, the Belgian proved yet again that he is the best player in the Premier League by a country mile and can now be seriously considered as one of the best in the world.
Seven goals from eight games and three assists go on top is a ridiculous tally and one that makes the 27-year-old the league’s highest scorer so far. He’s currently netting a goal for just over every three shots and will finish the season at this rate with 33 goals should he play in every game.
It would be easy to argue that the Belgian is the sole reason that Chelsea could win this year’s title.
In fact, that may well be the case. But it shouldn’t make the footballing world overlook the badge adorning his chest.
Sarri seems to be getting the best out of a squad far from Chelsea’s strongest and has turned around their fortunes following the recent Antonio Conte saga. If he’s managed that in just eight games, what will he have done after 30?
Perhaps it’s his propensity for chewing fag butts or dressing like a surgeon with a wildly lost fashion sense, but something is stopping Maurizio Sarri from being recognised as leading this Chelsea side into a battle for the Premier League crown.
Perhaps, more likely, it’s the country’s obsession with Liverpool and City and the fact that a third party ruins the Clash of the Titans storyline.
However, as we saw this week, it’s Chelsea storming to victory and their top-three companions not living up the the hype and expectation.
That may well continue all year. Either way, it’s time to recognise them as genuine contenders with all the energy left after lionising the other two.