Chelsea were an awful side to watch under Potter and Lampard last season, as they struggled to a 12th place finish, ending the season just 10 points above the relegation zone, and an astonishing 45 points off title winners Man City.
It was a hard watch for all Chelsea fans. They were humbled at home time and time again, and were beaten on the road by Wolves, Fulham and Brighton.
This season, they have not fared much better, losing against Nottingham Forest, West Ham and Aston Villa.
In recent weeks, however, they have turned their form around, winning against Fulham and Burnley, before playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw at home against an unbeaten Arsenal side.
So, are Chelsea’s fortunes finally starting to turn around? Or is their recent upturn in form just a flash in the pan?
Sterling Back To His Best
Ever since Man City sold Raheem Sterling to Chelsea, he has never really hit the same heights he did in Manchester.
He only managed 6 goals and 3 assists in the league, whilst also registering 3 goals and an assist in the Champions League.
The style of football being played at Chelsea last season evidently did not suit Sterling’s style of play, but this season, Pochettino’s tactics suit the Englishman much more.
He has already scored 3 goals and grabbed himself an assist this season, and looks to improve on his tally from last season.
His overall play has improved immensely, and going forward, he certainly looks more confident, especially in front of goal.
Sterling will be one of Chelsea’s key players this season, and they will rely on his experience to help carry them up the table.
Sterling will be hoping for a strong season also, with his position in the England squad up for debate, he will be hoping to convince England fans and Southgate that he is worthy of his spot on the plane to Germany next Summer.
Mykhaylo Mudryk, Finally, Delivers
After beating off strong contest from Arsenal for the signing of Mykhaylo Mudryk last season, Chelsea fans were expected a player to join their squad full of confidence, and to hit the ground running.
Instead, they got a player who quickly got sapped of all his confidence, and struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League.
He became a player known for his lack of end product, and his inability to produce anything in front of goal.
With such high expectations, Mudryk only managed 2 assists in his 15 games last season, leaving fans questioning why they paid an astronomical fee for a player who could not perform and seemingly could not score a goal.
Like Sterling, this season has been much different for Mudryk. Of the 8 games Mudryk has featured in this season, he has only started in 4, with Sterling and Palmer being preferred over him.
Despite not starting too many games, the Ukrainian winger has already matched his goal involvements from last season, with 2 goals so far this campaign.
His confidence is slowly but surely coming, and his decisions in front of goal are certainly improving each week. He may only be a bit part player so far for Chelsea, but if this form continues, he may find himself starting more often.
So, with two of Chelsea’s wide men finally hitting some form, how has it affected them?
Goals were a massive issue for Chelsea last season, and it was starting to look that way this season as well.
They hit blanks in 3 consecutive games, against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Aston Villa. Aside from those games, they had only managed one goal against West Ham, and one against Liverpool.
Ignoring their 3-0 win against Luton, who they should be beating comfortably, it was not exactly a thrilling start to the season in front of goal. The attacking play was disjointed, the strikers were not hitting the target, and nobody seemed to be on the same page.
But, it all seemed to click against Fulham and Burnley. Mudryk got his first goal of the season, and Broja returned from injury and made an immediate impact, scoring Chelsea‘s second.
Against Burnley, they finally found their form in front of goal. Despite an own goal and a penalty, Chelsea’s linkup play seemed much better.
Finally, Chelsea showcased their talents against Arsenal. They came into the game with many expecting Arsenal to breeze past Chelsea, but they had other ideas.
Their attacking intent was relentless, as they looked to get forward at every opportunity, and frequently exposed Arsenal at the back, which other teams have found hard to do in recent times.
Chelsea earned themselves a well-deserved, but surprising, 2-0 lead shortly after half time, and looked the much better side overall, but something still did not seem right. Despite all their hard work, Chelsea still found a way to let themselves down.
Despite the impressive performance, the incompetency that cost Chelsea so dearly last season started to creep in again.
Chelsea were guilty of making mistake after mistake, and ultimately, they were made to pay. A mistake from Sanchez allowed Rice to smash the ball home from distance, and Chelsea could not handle the pressure from Arsenal from there on out.
Pochettino is slowly but surely exerting his style onto this Chelsea team, and it is surely only a matter of time before he is successful with it, as the signs are there, but he needs to iron out the individual mistakes first.
If Chelsea can manage this, then they should find themselves within contention in regards to a top 6 or even a top 4 spot, but until they do, they have no chance of finishing above the likes of United, Liverpool, Brighton and Newcastle.