Despite spending more than £600 million on players in the past two transfer windows, Chelsea endured a complete disaster of a season with a 3-1 loss to Arsenal on Tuesday leaving them 12th in the Premier League.
The Blues have now lost all six of their games under caretaker manager Frank Lampard, whose own managerial losing streak stands at 10 games if the final four results of his torrid spell at Everton earlier this season are also taken into account.
What’s more, a 12th-place finish would represent the club’s worst ever final placing in the Premier League since they finished 14th in 1993–94.
The five-time Premier League champions are on 39 points, nine above the relegation zone with 33 games played — still one point shy of the “magic” 40, usually the target for teams struggling to avoid the drop. And if Lampard’s flawed side fail to arrest the slide and lose their last four league matches, things will get worse. Much worse.
Indeed, if a result is found elsewhere among the other clubs fighting for survival, conspiring against the relegated Blues midway through the end of the league campaign on May 28, their dreadful season will end in utter disaster as relegation remains a mathematical possibility.
Below is one of the more realistic sequences of hypothetical outcomes that could condemn Chelsea, champions of Europe just two years ago, to play in the Championship next season. While the precise score lines of most matches may not be critically important, a goal difference swing could be considered to be decisive between Chelsea and 18th-placed Leicester City.
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Ollie: Chelsea were a shaky Vs. Arsenal
James Alli reacts to Chelsea’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal in the Premier League
Game week 34
Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United
Things kick off with West Ham losing to title-chasers Manchester City on Wednesday to finish 15th in the Premier League with 34 points from 34 games.
Game week 35
AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Chelsea
Manchester City 2-2 Leeds United
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Aston Villa
West Ham United 3-2 Manchester United
Fulham 1-2 Leicester City
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Everton
Nottingham Forest 2-1 Southampton
The first of the remaining four full rounds will begin with the Blues defeat at Bournemouth. Sam Allardyce gets surprise draw at Manchester City Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest, Wolves and West Ham also claimed crunch victories to move away from the dotted line of relegation.
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Game week 36
Leeds United 2-1 Newcastle United
Crystal Palace 2-1 Bournemouth
Chelsea 1-2 Nottingham Forest
Southampton 2-1 Fulham
Manchester United 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Brentford 1-2 West Ham United
Everton 2-3 Manchester City
Leicester City 2-1 Liverpool
Chelsea suffered a home defeat against fellow scrappers Nottingham Forest, against whom they drew 1-1 at the City Ground on New Year’s Day, while Big Sam’s new manager bounce continued with a home win against Newcastle. Important wins by Southampton, West Ham and Leicester (who upset Liverpool at home) and defeat by Wolves will make things tighter at the bottom end of the Premier League table; Chelsea have dropped to 15th, just three places and five points above the drop zone and with two rounds of games remaining (although the Blues still have a game in hand.)
Game week 37
Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Everton
Nottingham Forest 2-2 Arsenal
West Ham United 1-2 Leeds United
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Southampton
Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea
Newcastle United 2-0 Leicester City
Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea
With dark clouds gathering overhead, Chelsea played twice to take their game in hand but lost two instructive trips to Manchester in the space of four days to extend their Premier League losing streak to eight games. Meanwhile, Forest, Leeds and Everton managed to add vital points to their haul and Leicester’s defeat against high-flying Newcastle pulled the Blues within three points of the relegation zone on the final day of the season.
Game week 38
Crystal Palace 1-2 Nottingham Forest
Arsenal 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Chelsea 0-2 Newcastle United
Everton 2-0 Bournemouth
Southampton 0-2 Liverpool
Leeds United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City 2-1 West Ham United
Chelsea ended the campaign with a defeat against Newcastle, their 11th consecutive defeat in all competitions, as the unimaginable unfolded slowly in front of a grim Stamford Bridge.
Elsewhere, resurgent Leicester’s third win in four games saw the Foxes edge above the Blues on goal difference as interim manager Dean Smith pulled off a truly memorable escape. Everton’s win against Bournemouth wasn’t enough for Sean Dyche after taking over from Lampard at Goodison Park, but a valuable win for Nottingham Forest against Crystal Palace saw them immediately join Leicester to avoid dropping a point back to the Championship. Chelsea are leaping to do so.
In this context, Frank Lampard’s side (assuming he is still in charge) will finish the season in 18th place, level with Leicester on 39 points but below the Foxes on goal difference, condemning them to relegation from the top flight for the first time. period from 1987-88.
Southampton (20th, 27 points) and Everton (19th, 38 points) will go down with the Blues. Above them, Nottingham Forest, Wolves, Leeds and West Ham will all survive the drop by a narrow margin, finishing level on 40 points with goal difference separating 16th and 13th in the final table.
Of course, this is all speculative; Caesars sportsbook was not offering the possibility of a move down to Chelsea as of Wednesday morning. But with the Blues entering the final month of the season, relegation is possible and with such poor results, nothing can be ruled out at this stage.
ESPN’s Dale Johnson contributed to this report