Amid all the elation over Liverpool’s Premier League title win on Thursday night, many kind of overlooked the actual football at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea earned a massive win for their own benefit, as Willian’s penalty sealed a 2-1 victory over Manchester City.
The result sees Chelsea move five points clear in the top four race, with their third consecutive league win and their fourth in all competitions. It was yet another example of what Frank Lampard’s side are capable of, something just as significant for next season as it is for the remainder of this one.
It was an excellent performance from Chelsea - Christian Pulisic’s goal capped off a superb first-half performance, and the Blues showed great fight after Kevin de Bruyne’s equaliser to regroup and push on for the winner. You cannot underestimate how big of a win it was, and how much it meant in London just as much as its significance on Merseyside.
The title race is over, though the race for Champions League football goes on. Liverpool have shown their worth by clinching the title with seven games to spare, a frankly inevitable outcome for months for Jürgen Klopp’s rampant Reds.
But it begs the question: who can stop Liverpool? That question may have already been answered at Stamford Bridge.
In what has been a rollercoaster of a season, Chelsea have shown promise throughout. They have beaten four of the big six across all competitions - Manchester United being the odd one out. Whether it was Thursday’s win over Manchester City, a league double over Tottenham or a brilliant FA Cup triumph over Liverpool, they have regularly turned up when it matters.
Lampard already has quality players among his ranks, but his squad is about to get even stronger when Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech touch down in west London. Across the Bundesliga and Eredivisie respectively, the new Chelsea duo have a combined 32 goals and 21 assists, as well as 13 goal contributions in 14 Champions League appearances.
Werner and Ziyech will add huge firepower to the Blues, alongside the likes of Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic. Chelsea have been vying for that cutting edge in front of goal all season, and their new European acquisitions will provide exactly that.
These two new signings are the perfect answer to what was needed, not to mention the players already at their disposal.
Chelsea have a stacked midfield with a range of talent, spoilt with a choice of seven. Whether it is the World Cup finalists of N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovačić, the resurgent powerhouse of Ruben Loftus-Cheek or the rising star of Billy Gilmour, the midfield combinations are limitless.
Chelsea are sorted in attack, midfield and even the goalkeeper department - despite opinions of some towards Kepa Arrizabalaga - but the defence needs major work. However, the summer transfer window is just around the corner, and the Blues certainly have the budget and resources to heavily invest in their backline.
Fixing the defence could be the final piece of the puzzle, and if that is addressed ahead of the new season, we could be looking at a title-challenging side. Chelsea have an exciting wealth of attacking players, a promising range of midfielders and a goalkeeper with lots of promise. Addressing defensive problems is the final part of Lampard’s rebuild, one which can be completed in the near future.
Chelsea have shown potential this season, with the stars beginning to align over Stamford Bridge. If anyone can truly challenge Liverpool, battle for the Premier League and compete for the entitlement of the best team in England, it can be Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
It has been three years since the Premier League trophy was lifted aloft the blue skies of west London, as the wait for a seventh league title goes on.
But that wait may be over sooner than we realise.