Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat should not take the gloss off what has been a remarkable maiden season for Antonio Conte.
The Blues were unable to complete the double, losing 2-1 to Arsenal at Wembley in a game it’s fair to say they were never really in.
Arsene Wenger’s side were at their best, whereas Chelsea looked a shadow of the team that won the Premier League by seven points.
Victor Moses certainly didn’t help matters by getting himself sent off after 68 minutes. Chelsea’s equaliser did come when they were down to 10 men, but Moses must still bear some responsibility for letting his team-mates down.
The Nigeria international was already on a yellow card when he went down feebly inside the box. Anthony Taylor judged it to be a dive and sent Moses down the tunnel.
Conte has sought to defend his player, however, insisting that if he went down too easily it was because he was tired and overwhelmed by the pressure of the occasion.
“Sometimes I think it could be tiredness and I don’t think – and I repeat – if my player dived he did it with the real intention to do this,” the Independent have quoted Conte.
“We are at the end of the season and a lot of players are tired and then there is a lot of pressure.
“For sure it is not a good situation to dive, it is true. But I repeat Moses is an honest player and if there was this situation he was tired and he didn’t want to cheat the referee.”
That is unlikely to appease Moses’ critics, who were also infuriated by the wing-back throwing his black armband to the floor as he left the pitch, though he is unlikely to have realised the significance of that action at the time.
Arsenal’s season was riding on the result at the national stadium. Chelsea’s was not. It was, nevertheless, a disappointing end to a spectacular campaign.