Chelsea vs. Norwich City: 5 Things We Learned
Chelsea's Stamford Bridge season ended with a whimper, as nine months of mayhem saw them say goodbye to their home crowd with a flat, goalless draw.
Neither side looked like they wanted to be there for a game that brought new meaning to the word "tedium".
Still, with Champions League football secured for another year, the Blues met their main objective.
So what did we learn from Chelsea 0-0 Norwich?
Chelsea Were on the Beach
Deckchairs out, knotted hankies on their heads—Chelsea seemed to be mentally halfway to the seaside in this game.
They lacked the bite, the commitment and what Diego Simeone in midweek called the "huevos" to give Norwich much of a game.
For a team still with the slimmest mathematical chance of winning the league, it was an unseemly display.
Perhaps part hangover from the season that never quite was, there were more than a few players who seemed to be trying to remember where they put their flight tickets to Rio de Janeiro, rather than the more pressing matter of finding the back of the net.
In theory, at least, both of these teams still had something to play for. It doesn't bode well for Cardiff vs. Chelsea next week.
Chelsea Really Can't Break Sides Down
It has been said so many times this season, but never was it more evident than here against Norwich.
The Canaries came for their point, and they got it. They did that by packing the box out with yellow shirts—and nobody can have any complaint about that.
They did that because they knew it would work.
So many times this season, Chelsea have been found lacking in the creativity to get the ball from the box to the net.
Here, Demba Ba huffed and puffed and seldom looked like scoring. Then on came Fernando Torres—who was no better.
This will surely be the last time Stamford Bridge sees either in a blue shirt.
Next season, Chelsea will be back with new attacking options. Those options really need to include players who can score in games like this.
We May Have Seen Quite a Few of These Players for the Last Time
The roll call of those set to move out of Stamford Bridge in the summer is substantial.
First, the obvious candidates: Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o.
David Luiz's chances of a move must have increased with the lifting of the Barcelona transfer ban.
And Ramires, red-card specialist, may have frustrated his last Chelsea boss.
Given that, it was all the more odd that Stamford Bridge emptied out before the now customary end-of-season parade lap by players, kids and partners.
Certainly the few who remained seemed to have difficulty maintaining too much enthusiasm for the spectacle.
Let the summer clear-out commence.
This Was Progression—of Sorts
Chelsea are not used to ending a season with a whimper—but that is exactly what happened here.
Of the 11 seasons in the Roman Abramovich era, only in 2010-11(when Carlo Ancelotti picked up his P45) has Stamford Bridge seen its last game with nothing left to play for—either domestically or in Europe.
But there are real positives to take from this season.
The likely final tally of 82 points is seven more than last campaign.
A Champions League semi-final trumps a Europa League win.
And, more importantly than anything, Chelsea have gotten a bit of their swagger back.
In Jose Mourinho, the club has a manager who knows how to win things and now seems to know what needs to be done at Chelsea to turn that theory into reality.
Next season, expect Chelsea to be back in a big way.
Eden Hazard Has No Issue with Jose Mourinho
But, sat on the bench, and then warming-up with a grin, Hazard didn't look like a man about to slap in a transfer request.
On pitch, he lifted Chelsea—though not to the desired levels—and could, perhaps should, have had a penalty.
Such criticism seems to have been water off a duck's back to Hazard.
He'll still be at Chelsea next season—barring a £100 million offer from Paris Saint-Germain.