Chelsea survived the trip to hell and back: State of the Blue-nion

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: N'golo Kante of Chelsea is challenged by Oleksandr Zinchenko of Manchester City during the Carabao Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: N'golo Kante of Chelsea is challenged by Oleksandr Zinchenko of Manchester City during the Carabao Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /
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LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 24: N’golo Kante of Chelsea is challenged by Oleksandr Zinchenko of Manchester City during the Carabao Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /

Chelsea have some room to breathe in March, but still a lot to fight for. This is the state of Chelsea Football Club after a turbulent February.

After a rocky start to the most crucial month of the season, Chelsea got it together during the back half of February. It’s hard to imagine a team that lost 6-0 to Manchester City beat Tottenham 2-0 in the same month, but welcome to the Blues’ 2018/19 season. Chelsea failed to grab any trophies, but that doesn’t mean the month failed to entertain.

Chelsea took its fans to hell and back throughout February. Regardless, the way things stand at the moment, the Blues’ top four hopes are very much alive.

1. Match of the Month: Manchester City 0-0 Chelsea (4-3 on pens)

As odd as it may seem – seeing as Chelsea beat Spurs and Malmo comfortably – the loss to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final was Chelsea’s best in February. While it is certainly unfortunate the Blues left Wembley without a trophy, this game saw Chelsea play its best overall match in recent memory. Days after a 6-0 drubbing to the defending champions, the Blues were able to keep their opponents goalless for 120 minutes thanks to a tactical change.

For the first time in Chelsea blue, Maurizio Sarri adopted a “Plan B.” Instead of his usual possession-based style of play, Sarri adapted a bit to the players’ strengths. Having tried to take the game to Manchester City just days before, leaving his team exposed in defense, Sarri emphasized defensive strength. The Blues lined up in a 4-5-1 / 4-2-3-1 formation as opposed to the normal 4-3-3.

By doing so, the Blues were able to play the counter-attacking style that many of the first team used to win the title two short years ago. Sarri played Hazard as a false-nine to emphasize speed on the counter-attack. This saw Jorginho and N’golo Kante sit closer to the back line and Ross Barkley, Willian and Pedro track back most of the time, as well.

Must Read. Three ways Chelsea stand to lose if Maurizio Sarri stays past this season. light

For the first time in a long time, the Blues looked as solid as a rock defensively.

Although no one scored any goals and the other team won the trophy, the change revitalized the Blues. Sarri has taken a lot of heat over the last few months, but he showed in this match that he has everything under control. Even though the result wasn’t what the fans were hoping for, this match was the catalyst for the Blues’ current run of form. Hopefully it will keep them going in the Europa League and help them gain the top four in a matter of weeks.