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Is this the beginning of the end for Chelsea?

Chelsea-vs-Southampton

Romelu Lukaku’s two goals at Goodison Park on Satuday ensured Everton’s passage into the FA Cup semi-finals, and also left Chelsea with the prospect of no trophies in this nightmare of a season.

Chelsea-vs-Southampton

After a terrible start to the season under Jose Mourinho, which saw the club flirt with the relegation zone, things were getting better for Chelsea under Guus Hiddink.

The London club have gone unbeaten for 12 league games, claiming 24 out of possible 36 points, and as a result are now only seven points adrift from Manchester United in 6th place.

In addition, Hiddink had managed to get the best out of Diego Costa, with the Spanish striker scoring eight times and creating four assists in the last 10 games. Generally, the squad’s confidence seemed to have been restored, however this past week was a big step-back, which put an end to any hopes Chelsea may of had at securing some silverware this season.

When Mame Biram Diouf levelled for Stoke last week, Chelsea saw its effort to maintain a late push for the top four become even more difficult. And then last Wednesday,  the Blues failed to beat Paris Saint-Germain for the second successive season and exited the Champions League, to go along with their FA Cup quarter-final defeat, in one of Chelsea’s most mediocre performances under Hiddink.

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So what’s next for the club that dominated the Premier League last season?

According to reports, Antonio Conte is ready to sign for Chelsea, a manager who’s previously enjoyed success at Juventus.

However, there is nothing official yet, and the club is clouded in uncertainty, not only over who will be in charge next season, but which players will be staying and going.

Up to nine players are set to leave the Blues at the end of the current season, while the club will have to persuade Europe’s top players to sign with the team next season, despite the likely prospect of no European football.

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So, it’s likely the new manager (Conte or someone else) will have to depend on Chelsea’s academy in order to create a competitive team.

In the meantime, Chelsea will try everything possible to claim the last Europa League spot (despite their difficult schedule, as they will face league leaders Leicester, Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and West Ham, among others) and hopefully end the season with some positivity.

 

*Images from: www.mirror.co.uk, www.skysports.comwww.skysports.com

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