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The saying about hindsight always being in 20/20 vision works well for good reason. The morning after the night before is always the best time to lean on perceived wisdom; we’re all experts after the event.
If we want an example of that, then look no further than Chelsea’s Premier League title-winning campaign this year. England’s biggest failures just 12 months ago, Antonio Conte’s Blues had been largely written off in 2016/17.
In the year of the super coach, the headlines were going to be about Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. It was supposed to be a north-west love-in, only Chelsea didn’t read the script.
Under Conte’s guidance, the Blues betrayed our predictions. When they made seemingly odd signings, we judged them to be failures; when Chelsea lost matches early in the season, we wrote off their title hopes.
But fast forward to May 12, 2017, and the Hawthorns; as they had for much of the season, Chelsea proved us all wrong. Michy Batshuayi put the finishing touches on Chelsea’s title pursuit, scoring the goal against West Bromwich Albion that won the Blues a second Premier League crown in three seasons.
The Belgian was an unlikely hero; after their struggles in 2015/16, Chelsea were equally unlikely champions.
Chelsea TV presenter Lee Parker had predicted it all way back in August, as his tweet below reminded us all following the final whistle against West Brom:
Lee Parker @Leeparker_tv
Trying desperately to be objective but I genuinely believe Chelsea will win the league under Conte #CFC
8/15/2016, 5:52:21 PM
We’re not all Lee Parkers, though. Our abilities as clairvoyants are lacking in comparison. Don’t believe us? Well, take a look at the following misjudged tweets that show how wrong the majority of us were this season when it came to judging Chelsea’s chances of glory.
We should say enjoy, but you will probably wince if we’ve singled you out.
Note: Some tweets contain profanity.
Liverpool reliving the glory days
With Jurgen Klopp starting his first full season in charge of Liverpool, the Reds were among the early title favourites. The German has a fine reputation built on his ability to improve players and produce teams capable of breathtaking football.
When his side defeated Chelsea 2-1 in September, it wasn’t only supposed to be the end for the Blues, it was also meant to confirm Liverpool’s own title charge:
Martin Kay @MrKayso
Trying hard not to get carried away but under Klopp I’ve got that feeling I’ve not felt for a long time. We’re going places this season #LFC
9/16/2016, 9:53:00 PM
How wrong that tweet was. Liverpool are yet to secure Champions League football for 2017/18, let alone the title.
Chelsea’s character after that defeat was called into question, especially when they lost the following week to bitter rivals Arsenal:
Bring back Malouda, Anelka, Drogba, Ballack, Deko, Lampard. These guys were ruthless. We don’t have that quality in our team anymore.
10/1/2016, 2:26:55 PM
It was all doom and gloom as fans harked back to the recent past, refusing to accept the current crop could compete in the same way the team had previously.
From those back-to-back defeats, Chelsea would win 13 Premier League matches in a row and take charge of the title race.
Cahill abused for a so-called lack of ability
A by-product of Chelsea’s slow start to the campaign was players being singled out for some poor performances.
Much of the vitriol was targeted at Gary Cahill, who had been victim of some individual errors that cost the Blues points in their early outings:
Liverpool fans went so far as to suggest they had a superior defence to the Blues on account of Cahill’s presence.
With one game to go until the end of the season, the Reds have shipped 10 more goals than Chelsea in the league, not to mention Cahill scoring six times for the Blues.
We got Klavan and Matip for £3.7m combined and both of them look 10 times the players of Cahill and Luiz #Chelsea #LFC
9/24/2016, 5:09:30 PM
When Cahill was named captain in the absence of John Terry against Hull City on October 1, the reaction from some was over the top.
The England international has captained Chelsea in the vast majority of their Premier League outings since, becoming the man who has led them to the title.
Slightly just burst into tears because Cahill will be the captain against Hull.
9/30/2016, 11:38:46 PM
David Luiz’s return ridiculed
It doesn’t help that Gary Neville once described David Luiz as a “PlayStation defender”. That tag has followed the Brazilian around ever since and, until this season, it was how most would’ve described him.
Luiz returned to Chelsea on transfer deadline day from Paris Saint-Germain in a move was laughed at across social media. Any Blues fans happy about his return were derided.
Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
Rumours that @ChelseaFC have bid £30million for David Luiz. That’ll test you @nglkante
8/30/2016, 8:15:20 PM
rupen david @peppermintkid
. @ChelseaFC do realized that David Luiz was the biggest joke when PSG paid £50m for him right? #Chelsea #TransferDeadlineDay #lol #fail
9/1/2016, 12:01:18 AM
Chelsea signing David Luiz is definitely d joke of dis year’s transfer. He’s more of a clown dan a defender. #transferdeadlineday
8/31/2016, 11:49:08 PM
Chris Goodfellow @clgoodfellow
David Luiz has now been transferred to the sum of £103m…Wenger is right there’s no value any more #cfc #TransferDeadlineDay
8/31/2016, 10:42:59 PM
Angus Scott @AngusScott
People openly chuckled when PSG bought David Luiz for £50m. Who’s had the last laughing flogging him back for £34? #TransferDeadlineDay
8/31/2016, 10:25:08 PM
Bruv is it me or is the premier league losing it . United sign pogba back, and Chelsea sign David luiz back #TransferDeadlineDay #DavidLuiz
8/31/2016, 10:04:12 PM
Since September, playing at the heart of Conte’s back three, Luiz has been widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s best defenders in 2016/17.
Fortunately for Chelsea, the club’s transfer policy is not shaped by Twitter comments.
Alonso transfer questioned
It wasn’t just Luiz’s return that was ridiculed last summer. When Chelsea also signed Marcos Alonso on transfer deadline day, and fans across social media were asking what exactly it was that Chelsea were smoking at Stamford Bridge:
Alex Williams @Alex1Williams
Why have Chelsea spent 20 odd million on Marcus Alonso?! This transfer window is madness 🤔#TransferDeadlineDay
8/31/2016, 8:43:43 PM
Paul Christie @Paulbwfc1990
@garryhayes hate to break it to you but I’ve seen milk turn quicker.Not a bad player but certainly not good enough to play at highest level.
8/31/2016, 9:13:55 PM
Nine months on, the view is that Chelsea are dependent on the Spaniard featuring as their left-back. It’s been quite the turnaround, helped by the fact Alonso has bagged six goals this season.
Victor Moses severely underrated
As Conte changed his system to a 3-4-3 at the beginning of October, Victor Moses suddenly became an essential member of his squad.
Long since a forgotten man at Stamford Bridge, the Nigeria international was given a new lease of life, cleansing him of the three failed loan spells he had endured since 2013.
However, the view of some Chelsea fans on Twitter ahead of the new campaign was that they wanted him gone from the club:
Babu Monte @saed22
Moses and Traore playing like shit. RLC and BT not holding it up. Performances like these always pushes us to the transfer market.. #CFC
7/28/2016, 4:08:17 AM
Chelsea should sell William Mikel Pedro Moses n buy Griezmann ! Griezmann n Costa Up Front #Deadly #CFC
9/26/2016, 1:17:30 PM
The Pride of London @PrideOLondon
Just sell him already RT @blueblood2401: Victor Moses has returned to Chelsea. #CFC
6/7/2016, 5:21:34 PM
When Bleacher Report suggested Moses was showing good form in pre-season, that opinion was also derided:
Karthik Iyer @antitheist7
@garryhayes @br_uk @BleacherReport I hope not. Hope he’s sold. We have better players. We have younger players.
7/21/2016, 8:01:00 AM
@garryhayes @br_uk Can see it, but have seen this happen for three or so preseasons now, he performs then gets sent out on loan..
7/21/2016, 8:00:04 AM
We’ll take credit for inspiring Conte’s decision-making—just this once.
The joy of Cesc
Cesc Fabregas has 10 assists to his name in the Premier League this term. It’s the sixth season he has achieved that figure or more—a feat achieved by no other player in English football’s top flight.
That’s quite remarkable, especially when we consider that the Spaniard has started just 11 matches this term.
Listen to some people on social media, however, and Fabregas wouldn’t have got anywhere near Chelsea’s first team this season:
JP Du Toit @jpdt23
Sell Fabregas & Pedro, we have Loftus-Cheek,Chalobah & Moses. Buy Lukaku, Koulibaly and a LB. #CFC #Chelsea
8/17/2016, 8:43:04 AM
Fabregas has proved Twitter wrong and also Conte, who didn’t seem to rate his qualities in the early days of his reign. He had to fight for his place in the Chelsea team and is now an essential cog in the machine once more. His renaissance has been as pleasant on the eye as Chelsea’s title charge.
So, remember, think before you tweet next season as we’re coming after you.