A season that started so promisingly for Chelsea has, following Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat by Liverpool, ended up being one to forget.
At the end of October they were three points clear at the top of the Premier League and all the talk was about whether Thomas Tuchel could crack Manchester City and Liverpool’s duopoly.
Six months later the club’s very existence was under threat following the sanctions imposed on owner Roman Abramovich.
Weighed down by that uncertainty, Chelsea have limped towards the finish line of the campaign, with little to show for their efforts.
Just as in February’s Carabao Cup final, Liverpool got the better of them in a penalty shoot-out that went to sudden death at Wembley at the weekend.
Having long since fallen off the pace in the league and crashed out of the Champions League to Real Madrid last month, it means they have failed to claim any of the four major trophies available to them at the start of the season.
They can point to success in European Super Cup and Club World Cup, but, while not to be sniffed at altogether, they are scant consolation.
As many of Tuchel’s predecessors can attest, that sort of campaign does not go hand in hand with job security at Stamford Bridge.
Since Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, the club has gone empty-handed on six occasions and only twice did the manager remain in place.
One of those was Frank Lampard in 2019-20, who was cut some slack for being a club legend and having to work under a transfer ban. In any case he was sacked months later.
The other was Jose Mourinho, who drew a blank in the first term of his second stint as Chelsea manager, in 2013-14.
If anyone had credit in the bank then it was the man who had brought the club two Premier League titles. He repaid the faith with a third the following year before it turned sour again.
Tuchel, though, looks unlikely to suffer the same fate as Carlo Ancelotti, deemed not good enough in May 2011, a year after winning the double.
It is difficult to gauge how Abramovich would look upon his efforts this season, but the Russian is no longer calling the shots in west London.
Equally, we do not know whether prospective new owner Todd Boehly intends to continue the boom-and-bust model favoured by Abramovich.
The American, co-owner of Major League Baseball’s LA Dodgers, is yet to speak publicly about Tuchel’s position and, while he waits for his £2.5bn takeover to be completed, is not in the position to make any binding decisions.
But few have been as ruthless as Abramovich in dispensing with managers, and the approach, while successful, has been turbulent and extremely expensive.
At a time when Chelsea need stability as much as anything, with a handful of first-team players set to leave this summer and question marks over the future of several more, it makes sense to retain the German.
Tuchel, meanwhile, can justifiably argue that he was hampered by extraordinary circumstances and, given his wider track record, deserves the chance to prove that next year.