Why David Luiz Is Wrong About Chelsea's 'S--t Season'

Dan LeveneFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 21:  Chelsea FC player David Luiz answers questions from the media during a press conference the day before the UEFA Champions League Semifinal first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Chelsea FC at Vicente Calderon Stadium on April 21, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

After exiting the Champions League, and with nothing but the flimsiest of hopes of a Premier League title, David Luiz says Chelsea's season has fallen short of expectations.

Dubbing 2013-14 a "s--t season" for the Blues, as reported on Get West London, the Brazilian defender has highlighted at least his own dissatisfaction with going away trophyless from a campaign.

Said more in disappointment in the immediate aftermath of defeat to Atletico Madrid, than out of any venom or desire to rant, the comments have been met with agreement from many.

But, as he may well agree in the cold light of day, David Luiz is wrong—this season has been no failure for Chelsea.

Of course, expectations have been raised so high under the stewardship of Roman Abramovich that the incidence of only a third season in 11 without silverware will inevitably raise the charge that Chelsea have failed.

To a certain extent David Luiz can justify his comments by pointing to the fact that Chelsea are now a top club, and top clubs are always expected to win things.

Certainly in the past, an empty trophy cabinet has led to the sacking of a manager—as Avram Grant found in 2008 and Carlo Ancelotti discovered in 2011.

But, as Jose Mourinho has made clear from the outset, this has been a season of transition (as he told the BBC back in December).

Mourinho inherited a critically unbalanced squad.

His dissatisfaction with the strikers he inherited could not have been any clearer, and the purchase of Samuel Eto'o as a sort of emergency stand-in has been more successful than many expected.

The January dealings, which saw Juan Mata make way for Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah, were done with an eye on next season.

Neither could play in this year's Champions League, and Salah in particular is in need of a fair bit of work before he will be considered a real starting option for the biggest Premier League matches.

All of this is background pointing to one thing—that this season's expectations were not of the same level as those in previous campaigns.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  John Terry of Chelsea looks dejected after the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stamford Bridge on April 30, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea have needed a truly transitional season—one in which the manager is allowed to build for the long-term rather than sacrifice all in pursuit of, say, a League Cup—ever since Mourinho was fired in 2007. And that is what we have had.

But taking away the transitional nature of the season, I would argue that even by the regular measures of success, this season has been a very long way from what anyone could call "s--t."

Some of the results and performances, particularly against the league's better teams, have been superlative.

Beating likely champions Manchester City home and away was an incredible feat, brought about by two herculean performances rightly highlighted as being among the best by any club all season.

Last weekend's disciplined and masterful display at Liverpool was the stuff legends are made of—deflating the cocky champions-elect bubble of Anfield by seeking out an Achilles heel seemingly missed by the massed ranks of punditry.

Then there were the thumpings of our friends from north London: 4-0 against Tottenham; 6-0 against Arsenal. No season with such results could be classed as too bad.

But more than any other indicator, there is the fact that Chelsea—unlike any other club in the Premier League—were still, until this week, in contention for both domestic and European glory.

It is gratifying that David Luiz places such stiff demands on himself and his team-mates that a season without silverware is not considered good enough.

But there is no way anyone could look back with a rational eye on this rollercoaster campaign, and call it a "s--t season."