THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.
THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted.
Greetings one and all, especially faithful readers of this series. Firstly, I owe everyone an apology. The last instalment of this Championship Manager challenge was back in June 2020. At that time, tragedy struck. The device running the game, as well as completed screenshots at the time, went kaput. With three months left of the season to go, it was a season derailed. However, a few weeks ago, said device was finally recovered. Given this challenge used data from the 19/20 season, I have no intention of riding the wave of that season, like Liverpool FC are at the moment week after week. Instead, and with the intention of a new season with more recent player data, I bring to you a round-up of the remainder of this challenge. Enjoy.
February ended with Chelsea improving in the Premier League, yet still twenty seven points away from runaway leaders Manchester City. Even the possibility of Champions League qualification is a longshot unless a near flawless final ten games is achieved. Or winning the competition itself. Sounds familiar….
March’s fixtures are as follows: Man Utd (H), Liverpool (A), and Newcastle (H). Ouch. Here’s the results.
Not too shabby. The win against Liverpool a particularly impressive one. Although, they are used to losing at home these days. Boom boom. Here’s the table after those results:-
Man if only five of those eleven draws were wins, eh? Still, with twenty-one points still up for grabs the Champions League places are still possible, just. Speaking of the Champions League, lets see how Chelsea faired there.
In group stage phase 2 (I really don’t miss those days), there is a home tie against Shakhtar Donestsk and a sure-fire battle at the Bernabeu against serial Champions League winners, and general shithouse team Real Madrid.
The final group games include a first defeat in this stage for Chelsea against Madrid, just, but it has no bearing on the final group table. Chelsea power through the knockouts. Against the other Madrid.
Finally for March there’s the next round of the FA Cup. This quarter final is an away tie against the runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City. Yikes.
Ah well. A good effort but ultimately a defeat, and another competition draws to a close for Chelsea this season. Only the Champions League remains for a chance of silverware. And now, onto April.
Chelsea are nine points off of fourth place in the Premier League, but have played a game more than most. Results need to start going their way for any real chance of climbing the table. Four games await, with two at home and two away.
Wow. Just wow. Four wins on the spin throughout the whole month. Maybe a manager of the month award is on the cards? And what about everyone else?
Those four wins have really closed the gap on nearest rivals Leicester City. Just one point in it now. The upturn in form is so strong that only Manchester City have lost less games than Chelsea. Considering where they were as the January transfer window approached, this is a run only Frank Lampard could have dreamed of. Speaking of City, they of course wrapped up the title despite just their second defeat of the season, almost mirroring their historic 2018-19 campaign. For now though, its Champions League knockout football.
Chelsea powered through to the knockouts alongside Real Madrid, but its to the other end of Madrid for the quarters.
A 90th minute hammer blow from Joao Felix means Athletico take three away goals back to Spain for the second leg. Never say never, but its a uphill task.
And by half time, Chelsea are rising to the task! Batshuayi going off is of course a concern, but so far they are on course for a great knockout victory.
They have done it! After Kovacic made it 0-3 on the night, Athletico burst back with two goals in seven minutes, which would level the tie and bring extra time. That is until the Chelsea midfielder completed his hat-trick with ten minutes to go for a famous 6-5 win on aggregate. Phew! Next stop, Barcelona!
This is it, the final fixtures of yet another Premier League season. A tough away day at Arsenal, followed by a home tie with already-relegated Sheffield United, ending the season with a home tie with Everton. Lets do this…
That’s one down. A late win but comprehensive in the end. But how does that affect the table?
With two games left it couldn’t be much title, with even second place a possibility. None of which no one would have predicted at the start of the year. Done, done, onto the next one.
Batshuayi’s goals are what have ignited Chelsea’s form this season. These FOUR, including a seven-minute hat trick, means he is on 35 goals for the season. Incredible.
But elsewhere, Leicester leapfrog Man Utd and Liverpool into second place by beating both of them consecutively. A big statement there with leaves Chelsea now just goal difference away from Champions League football guaranteed. And here is how the final fixtures ended.
Sadly, Chelsea’s 4-1 victory is not enough. With Liverpool narrowly beating West Ham 2-1, and Leicester claiming a last-minute victory at Watford, it means Chelsea miss out on Champions League football with an inferior goal difference. By one goal. Gutted. Here’s the final table.
Norwich, Newcastle and Sheffield United drop to the Championship once again. Chelsea’s championship form in the last three months just wasn’t enough in the end. And now, the small matter of the Champions League semi-final.
Oh dear. A disastrous start thanks to Christensen’s red card, and Barcelona take full advantage. They will get one hell of a fight at Stamford Bridge, but is this a mountain too tall?
Ultimately, it is. But Chelsea’s performance was superb, with only coming short in the goals department. They can hold their heads high after that. It’s a Liverpool/Barcelona final.
And it’s Barcelona’s once again after an extra time winner. An all-English final in a British stadium might have been a bigger spectacle, but this was a tight, competitive final.
FA Cup Final:-
The closing fixture of the English season is always the FA Cup final. Manchester City were going for a league and cup double against the 2006 finalists West Ham United. A spirited 2-goal comeback from the Premier League champions triggers extra-time, but West Ham have the final say, restoring their 2-goal lead for an unlikely victory.
And that’s the season wrapped up. I do hope you enjoyed it, I am certainly pleased to get it finished so those of you who followed can savour
And that’s the season wrapped up. I do hope you enjoyed it, I am certainly pleased to get it finished so those of you who followed can savour the end. If this is your first instalment, please take a look at the previous monthly segments and let me know your thoughts. Maybe I’ll do another season with 2020-21 data. Cheerio!
Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-
Championship manager and its fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/
For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.