2021 has been a rollercoaster year as expected when you support Chelsea. There have been some fantastic moments over the calendar year, but like every year in the world of football, we’ve had our fair share of shocking moments.
Strap yourselves in as 2022 is nearly upon us, and Chelsea fans will be involved in some more shocks along the year when the unpredictable game of football throws up some surprising moments.
The Blues played 65 matches this calendar year, losing ten and drawing sixteen, three of which won in penalty shootouts. Mostly under Tuchels reign after the sacking of club legend Frank Lampard.
This is Chelsea. It’s never dull or predictable, and let’s go over some of the shocks of 2021.
The Champions League triumph – Daniel Childs
It feels wrong to place just one game in the Champions League winning run here because nearly all of them were extraordinary in their own ways.
I think it comes down to the doubts so many of us over the quality and mentality of the squad after Frank Lampard’s sacking. Sure, you could point to Frank’s shortcomings as a coach, but so much of that collapse felt eerily similar to previous seasons.
To win a European Cup, you not only need elite quality but an almost unbreakable mentality and not a lot about the squad had provided that before Thomas Tuchel arrived. From the outstanding second leg against Atletico Madrid, that all began to change.
The ease to which Chelsea swatted aside Porto, dominated Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge and beat a supremely talented Man City in the final. My emotions at the full-time whistle matched the response in 2012, which I never thought could be replicated again.
Chelsea 2-5 West Brom, April 3 – Jake Stokes
West Bromwich Albion’s five-goal thrashing of Chelsea was my biggest shock of 2021, and it probably felt worse being at the game.
Obviously, without any fans inside the ground, you could get an excellent insight into how each club is coached by listening in on how the players and staff communicate with each other.
Naturally, once the Baggies went in front, celebrations and cheering were coming from the away dugout but, once Sam Allardyce’s side extended their lead beyond belief, Stamford Bridge was just silent when the visitors netted their fourth and fifth.
You could feel the tension in the air, and it was just one of those games that took you back a bit, and you have to question whether it just happened or not.
Winning the Champions League – Renuka Odedra
Another year where a manager was fired, this time in the form of Frank Lampard and with Thomas Tuchel taking over the reins mid-season, I was a little sceptical about how things would pan out in our journey in the Champions League.
I should have seen it coming, though, because a similar thing happened in 2012 after Roberto Martinez took over from Andre Villas-Boas. A switch of managers midseason, which led to us beating some heavyweights in the process and the big-eared trophy was ours.
Mateo Kovacic was heard slamming the referee in Chelsea’s 5-2 defeat to West Brom (Image: Getty Images)
This time they edged past Atletico Madrid, Porto and Real Madrid to get to the final against Manchester City. A Kai Havertz goal separated the side. But, if anyone told me that the Blues would win their second Champions League trophy in 2021, I would have said unlikely.
What a beautiful surprise it was.
Frank Lampard + Wildcard Midfielder – Scott Clayton
I feel the obvious ones have been said above, so I have a wildcard option to throw into the ring after mentioning the Lampard stuff; now the dust has settled.
Although I’ve been a fan way before Roman Abramovich arrived, and I know how it is at Chelsea, we never really give a manager time or patience to build something if things go wrong.
It still felt like the sacking of Frank Lampard came very quickly. I’m not complaining about what happened since, but Chelsea are going through a blip currently, and I would hate to see it happen again.
Kai Havertz celebrates his winner against Manchester City
So much for that three-year plan. The dust has settled, I’m looking forward, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t shock me at the time.
The moment that might not be so popular is that the club went through the summer transfer window and didn’t strengthen the midfield area. Declan Rice and Aurélien Tchouaméni are on the top of my list of players we should sign this coming window or in the summer. Ever since the club seemed to turn down Lampard’s eagerness to pay big money for Rice who is valued at £67.5m on Transfermarket, his price has risen where we could have now got our money’s worth already and be worth way more than what we would have had to pay back then.
If you asked me if I expected Chelsea to win the Champions League that at the turn of the year, I’d have laughed. Hopefully, we will be shocked again in 2022, and Chelsea will win more trophies.