The Week In Chelsea: Outshone by youngsters

A former player returns to haunt Stamford Bridge, leaving Chelsea with only one bright spark to savour from the week just passed, Garry Hayes believes... 

The week in five words

Can things get any worse?

What went well…

We’re not quite sure if this is a good or bad thing, but Chelsea’s under-19s showed up their more senior colleagues this week with a fine display to reach the UEFA Youth League final.

Chelsea are the reigning European champions having lifted the trophy after defeating Shakhtar Donetsk in last year’s competition. This time out they beat Anderlecht 3-0 in Friday’s semi-final to set up a showdown with Paris Saint-Germain on Monday (the game kicks-off at 4pm).

Getting this far in the UEFA Youth League in successive years just reinforces how dominant Chelsea are at junior level.

The club continues to deliver in that regard —they’ve also reached the FA Youth Cup for the fifth successive season— so it’s a shame for Chelsea fans that the same can’t be said about the first team.

That fact now allows us to seamlessly Segway into the next part of our weekly review…

What didn’t…

Chelsea were dreadful against Manchester City on Saturday. We didn’t realise it at the time, but Guus Hiddink was playing clairvoyant 24 hours earlier when he told the media in his pre-match press conference that it was going to be hard to keep his players motivated now there is little to play for.

Guus Hiddink proved prophetic

Well, we didn’t realise it would be this shocking, Guus.

In what ranks among one of their worst performances of the campaign—and there have been many—Chelsea were ruthlessly put to the sword by a Sergio Aguero hat-trick to bring his tally for the season against them up to four goals.

Chelsea were played off the park

The Blues were a complete mess and it doesn’t take a man of significant intellect to see this side has long since thrown the (beach) towel in.

Spare a thought for Chelsea fans who still have five games to endure before the season is out.

Quote of the week 

“Our priority now is to give a good performance against Manchester City today, not only because we need the points to move up the table, but also to give our supporters a good result.”

That’s how Hiddink signed off his programme notes ahead of Saturday’s game with City. Given how the game went, we’re not quite sure the Chelsea players were listening.

The need-to-know facts

  • Guus Hiddink has lost two league games in a row as a club manager for the first time since February 2004 while at PSV Eindhoven.
  • Sergio Aguero is the third opposing player to score a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League – the other two were scored by NwankwoKanu and Robin van Persie.
  • This is only the second time in the Premier League that Manchester City have done the double over Chelsea (also 2009/10).
  • This was Chelsea’s heaviest home defeat in the Premier League since losing 3-0 to Sunderland in November 2010.

Video/GIF of the week

After the horror show against Manchester City, has Antonio Conte had second thoughts about joining Chelsea next season?

Winner of the week 

Kevin De Bruyne. Yes, we know, we’re bending the rules slightly by mentioning a non-Chelsea player here, but De Bruyne deserves it. He was back at his old stomping ground on Saturday where he tore his former side to shreds.

While Chelsea huffed and puffed in attack, De Bruyne cut through their defence with ease to remind the Blues’ hierarchy that they shouldn’t have sold him to Wolfsburg when they did.

De Bruyne’s main gripe with Chelsea is that he never got a fair chance to establish himself at Stamford Bridge.

Well, after assisting Aguero for the first and playing a part in the striker’s other two goals, De Bruyne has well and truly done that now. To Chelsea’s detriment, it was in a Manchester City shirt.

Loser of the week 

Thibaut Courtois has been somewhat rash this season

Thibaut Courtois. There’s always going to be a fall guy in defeat. There were so many duds for Chelsea against Manchester City that it was looking difficult to name just one—then Thibaut Courtois went and got himself sent off. Again.

That’s twice the Belgian has seen red for Chelsea this season, the first coming against Swansea City on the opening day of the season in similarly bad circumstances. The red card compounds his and the club’s misery this season.

Roman Abramovich must be wondering why he allowed Petr Cech to leave Chelsea last summer as Courtois hasn’t looked capable of filling his boots this term.

Suddenly those transfer rumours of a move to Real Madrid don’t seem too bad after all.