No English club has achieved a quintuple of trophies in one season. Most recently, Chelsea reached the pinnacle of the sport with a Champions League triumph in 2020/21. However, despite not picking up a Premier League trophy last season, the Blues show no sign of slowing down.
It has not always been a successful ride for Chelsea. Rather, their young talents came through along with a number of notable signings. To start the 2019/20, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard took the reigns. A transfer ban handcuffed Lampard in his first season. Still, the two-time England Player of the Year qualified for the Champions League and made it to the FA Cup Final. Lampard excelled at promoting youth in his first season.
Cobham Academy products Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, and most notably Mason Mount made strong impressions on the first team. Then, after the season-long transfer ban ended, Lampard brought in a multitude of weapons. On defense, Chelsea bought goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Stade Rennais, left-back Ben Chilwell arrived from Leicester City, and the Blues acquired Thiago Silva on a free. Kai Havertz came over from Bayern Leverkusen for $88 million, Hakim Ziyech arrived from Ajax, and Timo Werner moved from RB Leipzig.
The elite arrivals did not play as expected. After an eight-match Premier League stretch with two wins, Chelsea sacked Lampard. Thomas Tuchel, most recently employed by Paris Saint Germain, took over as manager.
Now, with Tuchel riding the confidence of Chelsea’s second Champions League crown, there are no limits on this club’s potential.
Quintuple possible with proven success
Chelsea went unbeaten in their first 14 matches under the 2021 German Football Manager of the Year. Their form continued, and they ended up facing the best team in England on three different occasions in three different competitions. In all three instances, Chelsea won.
The Blues defeated Manchester City, 1-0, in the FA Cup Semifinal. Next, they knocked off the Premier League champions in a league game, 2-1. To close the season, Chelsea beat the Sky Blues 1-0 in the Champions League Final.
Chelsea lost the FA Cup Final, 1-0, through a Youri Tielemans wonder strike for Leicester City. The club also finished fourth in the Premier League for the second-consecutive season.
The other competitions in the quintuple require qualification. The chance of a rare sextuple is gone, as Chelsea did not play in the FA Community Shield. However, the club’s Champions League success earned the Blues a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup. The argument that the Club World Cup is not a priority of the club is valid, domestic and continental success are at the forefront of Chelsea’s ambitions.
Still, Thomas Tuchel will take any chance he gets to acquire hardware with the London club.
Thomas Tuchel’s success philosophy
Thomas Tuchel is a manager who adapts his style to the players at his disposal. During his first 10 Premier League matches as manager, the German made 39 changes to his starting lineups.
Tuchel settled on a 3-4-2-1 formation. He compacted the middle of the pitch by suffocating opponents with aggressive pressing. The wingbacks stretch teams through width to create goal scoring opportunities. Chelsea also counterattacks through the middle with Mason Mount serving as the conduit between the midfield and the frontline. The English international won Chelsea Player of the Year and Premier League Academy Graduate of the Year.
“There are no limits. He has the full package,” Tuchel said about Mount.
“He is incredibly talented and even more importantly, he has the personality at a very young age to keep his feet on the ground, to arrive every day at Cobham with a smile on his face.”
The arrivals brought in under Lampard’s regime also cemented their place in Tuchel’s lineup, more or less. Timo Werner still struggles based on his expectations coming to England. The German mustered just 12 goals in 52 appearances in his first season at Stamford Bridge.
Increased ambition for 2021/22
For a quintuple of trophies, a team cannot dip in form at any point.
To start the 2021-22 season, Chelsea picked up the first available trophy, the UEFA Super Cup. The Blues defeated Spanish-side Villarreal on penalties.
Tuchel subbed on goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 119th minute to replace Mendy for the spot kicks. His plan worked.
The next day, the West London club signed world-class striker Romelu Lukaku. The signing could benefit the club in two ways. For one, the club acquires one of Europe’s best goal scorers with a proven track record in England. Also, Timo Werner now has the inspiration to redeem himself and re-establish himself as a great striker.
Lukaku unsurprisingly scored the game-winning goal in his debut against Arsenal.
Also, Chelsea is not finished bolstering their squad with the time left in the transfer window. Jules Koundé is a name reverberating on the rumor mill at Stamford Bridge. As is Saúl Ñíguez, Atlético Madrid’s talisman in midfield.
Tuchel wants a competent, and perhaps elite, replacement at every position. The squad is also flexible enough to be effective in any system.
Winning a quintuple is not an expectation of Chelsea. If they were to accomplish the feat, it would undoubtedly be the best season in Chelsea’s history. Moreover, it may be the best season in English history.
Yet, a quintuple is on the cards. Chelsea already won the first trophy possible, their quest for the other four is underway.
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