2018 was an interesting year for Chelsea, as the club won silverware and saw a manager change once again.
Chelsea secured the FA Cup in May, and continued to compete at the very top of the Premier League. However a fifth place finish from the reigning champions was underwhelming, and led to the dismissal of Antonio Conte in July.
Here is a look at some of Chelsea’s best moments of 2018.
7. Ruben Loftus-Cheek Hits Historic Hat-Trick – October 25th
A player scoring a hat-trick is always a memorable moment, but it is even better when a homegrown player does it. So it was always going to be a memorable moment when that is exactly what happened in the Europa League match against BATE Borisov in October.
Maurizio Sarri gave Ruben Loftus-Cheek his first start of the season against the Belarussians, and the academy product repaid Sarri’s faith in style as he hit an impressive hat-trick at Stamford Bridge.
It was Chelsea’s first European hat-trick since Didier Drogba against Levski Sofia in 2006, and their first European hat-trick from an English player in 47 years. Loftus-Cheek had made history, as the Stamford Bridge faithful chanted his name on a landmark night.
6. Jorginho Signs for Chelsea – July 14th
It was evident that Chelsea needed to upgrade their squad after last season, which is where Jorginho came in. Joining in July from Napoli alongside Maurizio Sarri, the Italian playmaker was an instant fan’s favourite at Stamford Bridge.
Jorginho has truly established himself in the Chelsea midfield, forming a formidable partnership alongside N’Golo Kanté in the process. He has made 20 appearances this season, and has been highly praised by many for his performances in Blue.
His hard work and attractive style of play have made him a key asset to Sarri’s side, and he has been one of Chelsea’s standout performers this season as he continues to impress at the Bridge.
5. Kepa Arrizabalaga Moves to Stamford Bridge – August 8th
From one recruit to another, the controversial departure of Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid meant Sarri needed to find a new number one. Just a day before Courtois’ move was confirmed, Kepa Arrizabalaga was signed from Athletic Bilbao for a record £71 million.
Since his summer move, the young Spaniard affectionately known as Kepa has been a hit at Stamford Bridge. Making 24 appearances this season, he has kept 13 clean sheets and has proved his value in some incredible performances for the Blues.
One of the best parts of Arrizabalaga’s arrival is that he still has plenty of time to improve. At 24-years-old, Chelsea’s number one can continue to flourish at the club, as he begins to establish himself as one of the best in the Premier League.
4. 12-Game Unbeaten League Start
Sarri’s tenure at Stamford Bridge began in style, as Chelsea remained unbeaten for their opening 12 games of the Premier League season. It started with a 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town in August, and ended with the 0-0 draw with Everton.
The run included a derby win over Arsenal, a convincing victory over Cardiff City and a dramatic draw against Manchester United, as a close-range finish from Ross Barkley secured a point in the 96th minute.
Although their run ended with a painful 3-1 defeat to city rivals Tottenham Hotspur, it was a great achievement for Sarri’s side, as Chelsea began life with the new manager in the best possible way.
3. Statement Win Against Manchester City – December 8th
If there was one result that stood out for Chelsea in 2018, it would be their 2-0 win over Manchester City in November. Goals from N’Golo Kanté and David Luiz shocked the unbeaten reigning champions, as the Blues took all three points in the Premier League clash.
The win was impressive for many reasons, with Chelsea the complete underdogs at Stamford Bridge. City had won their last three games against the Blues, keeping three clean sheets in the process. However they were outclassed on the day in an incredible win.
Chelsea were outstanding, as Sarri produced a tactical masterclass against Pep Guardiola. It was a trademark Chelsea performance that was a sheer delight for Blues fans, as they pulled off a remarkable victory at Stamford Bridge.
2. Maurizio Sarri Arrives at Stamford Bridge – July 14th
Another year, another managerial change at Stamford Bridge. After Antonio Conte was sacked in July, Chelsea brought in fellow Italian Sarri from Napoli to replace him, to the delight of many Chelsea fans.
Renown for his attractive attacking style of play known as ‘Sarriball’, Chelsea’s new manager instantly revitalised the Blues as he lost just one of his opening 20 games. Within months he had completely transformed Chelsea.
From his opening five months as Chelsea manager, Sarri has an eventful 2019 and a second half of the season ahead of him. With Chelsea still in the Europa League and the Carabao Cup the Italian has a lot to look forward to in the new year.
1. Chelsea Secure Eighth FA Cup – May 19th
As Chelsea aimed to end a frustrating season on a high, the FA Cup Final in May was surely their highlight of the year. The Blues met Manchester United at Wembley, with Conte’s side looking to avenge their cup final defeat to Arsenal the previous year.
In a tight affair under the iconic arch, it was Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty that eventually made the difference, as Chelsea ran out 1-0 winners. It was fantastic to secure silverware once again, as the Blues emerged victorious over former manager José Mourinho.
The victory was their eighth FA Cup win, moving them up to joint third in the list of FA Cup winners. The trophy was a great way to end last season, as Blue was the colour at Wembley Stadium in May.