Welcome back to ‘The Monthly Report’ – our monthly feature that looks back at the previous month at everything Chelsea Football Club as we pick out our highlights and moments, both on and off the pitch.
The First team. The Women’s team. The Academy. Everything is covered.
Without further ado, let’s look back at February.
The humiliation at the Etihad.
Sarri on the brink after United.
Higuain getting off the mark against Huddersfield.
Further progress in Europe.
Finishing off another Spurs title challenge. (Losing count, how many is that now?)
Heartbreak at Wembley.
I think it’s safe to say that February was a rollercoaster month for the First team. One thing you can guarantee right now with Chelsea is that whether it’s on or off the pitch, it sure as hell not boring.
Defeating Tottenham Hotspur to keep in the race for a spot in the ‘Top 4’
As a Chelsea fan, there are not many more things you could want besides beating Spu… Wait a minute. Didn’t I write this last month? Déjà vu indeed.
In all seriousness though, this was a huge match. After the heartbreak of Wembley (more on that in a moment), beating Tottenham was absolutely vital to keeping ourselves in the hunt for a top 4 place and thus… Champions League football next season. A club of our stature cannot afford to be playing in the Europa League two seasons in a row.
Thankfully, the top 4 is still within reach. For now.
Cup Final heartbreak at Wembley
Our Carabao Cup Final loss to Manchester City was a painful one. Especially as we deserved to win and suffered heartbreak due to the lottery that is penalties.
After the humiliation of 6-0 just two weeks earlier, not many gave Chelsea a prayer of a victory at Wembley. But to the surprise of everyone – especially Pep Guardiola – we were moments away from pulling off a surprising win. Unfortunately, we came up short in the penalty shootout. Although we missed out on another trophy, the players were applauded by the fans for showing that they fought for the badge.
As for ‘KepaGate’… yeah… that was… something.
Chelsea 5-0 Huddersfield Town (Premier League)
Another awesome display from Eden Hazard, free-flowing football that was SarriBall-esque and Gonzalo Higuaín opening his account for the Blues with a brace. A great result overall.
Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea (Premier League)
Do I really need to say anything?
GOAL OF THE MONTH
Gonzalo Higuaín (2nd) vs Huddersfield Town (Premier League)
After opening his account for Chelsea earlier in the game, the Argentinian International showed what the fans had been missing from a genuine striker all season long with an incredible first-time shot from outside the penalty area into the top corner. More of that would be very much welcomed from El Pipita.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Simply put, I’m starting to run out of words to describe how incredible N’Golo Kante is as a footballer and how important he is to Chelsea Football Club.
After two fantastic performances against Man City in the Carabao Cup Final and Spurs in the Premier League, Head Coach Maurizio Sarri has more than justified playing Kante further up the pitch in a more attacking role. Able to press and shut down the opposition much quicker, contributing with goals and assists much more frequently, alongside his already mind-boggling work rate… Kante has been simply phenomenal as of late. For being able to add even more feathers to his bows, the positional change has been nothing short of a masterstroke by Sarri.
STATS (ALL COMPS)
• Matches Played – 7 (W4, D1, L2)
• Goals – 21 (GF – 12, GA – 9)
• Top Scorer – Barkley, Giroud, Hazard, Higuain (2 each)
• Average Possession – 58.1%
• xG Average (Premier League only) – 1.51
It was pretty much a successful month for the Chelsea Women, winning 3 of the 5 games they played across 3 competitions.
In the FA Women’s Super League – they stayed undefeated in the month as they first came from 2 goals down to grab a valuable point away (2-2) to title-chasing rivals Manchester City W.F.C, before smashing Bristol City W.F.C 6-0, with hat-tricks coming from Fran Kirby and Bethany England respectively. Those 4 points from 6 ensured Chelsea stayed third in the table, four points behind Arsenal and six behind leaders Man City, with 6 games to go.
In the FA Women’s Cup, a comfortable 3-0 victory over Arsenal in the Fifth Round allowed Chelsea to remain on course to retain the cup, with Durham W.F.C awaiting them in this month’s Quarter-Final.
In the Continental Tyres Cup (FA Women’s League Cup), Chelsea was unsuccessful in their Semi-Final against Manchester City, losing 2-0, meaning that they must wait another season to try and win the League Cup for the very first time.
BEST MOMENT – The last-minute equaliser from Ji So-yun to grab a 2-2 away to Manchester City in the FAWSL.
BEST RESULT – Chelsea 6-0 Bristol City (FAWSL)
BEST GOAL – Jonna Andersson (3-0 vs Arsenal, Women’s FA Cup)
PLAYER OF THE MONTH – Bethany England
STATS (ALL COMPS)
• Matches Played – 5 (W3, D1, L1)
• Goals – 17 (GF – 13, GA – 4)
• Top Scorer – Bethany England (5)
It was a relatively quiet month for the academy on the pitch but there was still 4 matches across all 3 age groups. For the Development Squad, they started the month with a 1-0 win away to Derby County but finished it with a 2-0 loss to Swansea City in Premier League 2 – Division 1. For the U18’s however, they had a much better time against their Swansea City counterparts as they smashed home six unanswered goals in a one-sided 6-0 win in the U18 Premier League.
But the result – and performance – of the month from the Academy surely has to be the 3-1 win over AS Monaco in the UEFA Youth League Play-offs. Goals from Charlie Brown and Conor Gallagher ensured they progressed to the Round of 16 later this month, where they’ll meet another French side in Montpellier.
BEST MOMENT – The U19 side defeating AS Monaco 3-1 in the UEFA Youth League Play-offs to progress to the knockout phase.
BEST RESULT – Chelsea U18 6-0 Swansea City U18
BEST GOAL – Charlie Brown (2nd goal, 3-1 vs Monaco, UEFA Youth League)
PLAYER OF THE MONTH – Charlie Brown
See you next month!