Chelsea had been flirting with disaster throughout the first few months of Sarri-ball even as results on the scoreboard pulled a smokescreen of an 18-match unbeaten run over all of that.
Opposition clear cut chances this season, or How Chelsea Used Magic To Stay Unbeaten— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) October 21, 2018
Man City: 5 allowed, 3 conceded
Liverpool: 7 allowed, 1 conceded
Chelsea: 17 allowed, 2 conceded
But now, three losses in the past month (in ten games), and all three rather disastrous (3-1 away to Spurs, 2-1 away to Wolves, and now a loss at home to Leicester City) have made it quite clear that Chelsea have plenty of work to do and a top-four finish will not be easy.
While there is plenty of anger and disappointment floating around in the wake of last night’s result, Eden Hazard is keeping it a bit more positive. Not only does he think we got a bit unlucky yesterday — twice hitting the post (once Eden himself, then Alonso at the very end) and amassing solid xG totals would back him up in that claim — but he believes the team will respond just as strongly as after the last disaster.
xG map for Chelsea - Leicester. There were many times in this game when I was surprised Chelsea didn't score. Other than the not scoring good chances, they seemed fine! pic.twitter.com/BOF223MeHb— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) December 22, 2018
The 2-1 loss at Wolves was followed by a 2-0 win over Manchester City just three days later. Now Chelsea have four to prepare for Watford away on Wednesday night.
“I think I can do better but that is football, sometimes yes, sometimes not. I will try to score next game. We just missed the shot on the goal, that is it. We hit the woodwork twice, their goalkeeper made some great saves, we were unlucky, but I keep the positives in our heads and now we move forward and try to win game after game.
“We knew it before that in the Premier League there is no easy game. Every game is hard and when you are unlucky you can lose. They [Leicester] have the players. Vardy scored and he is a fantastic striker, their goalkeeper is a fantastic goalkeeper so they know what to do. We should do better but at the end they have three points and we have zero. We just need to look forward.
“We lost against Wolverhampton and we responded in a good way [by beating Man City] so we know what to do.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Chelsea FC
Depending on how Spurs do this afternoon at Everton, Chelsea could be looking at a five-point gap to third and only goal difference separating us from Arsenal in fifth. The title is long gone, but that shouldn’t even be entering the conversation at the moment. We will need all hands on deck, plus a bit of luck, to improve on last year’s finish at this rate.
It should be noted that Sarri has basically matched the first-half of last season through the first 18 games. This is the point where it all started falling apart for Conte last season. Can Sarri avoid a similar fate?
38 - Chelsea have now won 37 points in the Premier League this season scoring 35 goals and conceding 15, but they won 38 points at this stage last season scoring 35 goals and conceding 16. Improvement?— OptaChelsea (@OptaChels) December 22, 2018