Chelsea’s early season nightmare continues. Jose lost his 100th home game in charge of the Blues, only the second time he has experienced this feeling.
We just don’t look like the same team as we did last season, with a number of high-profile players delivering sub par performances yet again.
Before analyzing the culprits, I feel the absence of one player in particular is a major reason for the teams underperformance. We looked like we were going to start where we left off in the first half of the first game of the season against Swansea, until the sending off of Courtois. That was the last we have seen of Oscar as he was sacrificed to make room for Begovic. He has since picked up and injury and has been sorely missed. Hopefully he will return soon and I predict our form will improve when that happens.
The biggest difference in our play this year has been the leaky defence. We all know how the press jumped to conclusions and placed much of this blame at the feet of JT. Personally I think the Branislav Ivanovich should be taking the biggest criticism. I also don’t think it’s totally his fault.
I do not understand why he was appointed Club Vice-Captain this season, especially when we are actively looking for JT’s replacement. He just doesn’t fit the mould for Captain’s role. I also think his loss of form can be attributed to his new responsibility on the pitch. He is a superb defender, and all of his grey matter (there is not that much to go around) should be being used to that end. Due to JT’s suspension and also upcoming inevitable periods of absence during this transition season, Ivanovich will continually have to spend more time “trying” to lead the team…… That will mean his need to improve his defensive form may not get the attention it requires. He needs to refocus.
There is a simple answer I feel. Cesc Fabrigas is clearly struggling the most out of any of our influential creative players. He looks lost. Lets give him the armband. After all he was Captain of Arsenal at a very young age and maybe , just maybe, giving the additional responsibility to him will be the shot in the arm he needs to regain his confidence. He also possesses the quiet assuredness we want from our next leader. With a number of high-profile Spaniards in the team it also sends a settling message to the likes of Costa, Pedro and Azpilicueta.
Continuing to identify the under performers, next up is Nemanja Matic. He looks sluggish is his defensive qualities and missing his transitional forward movement which anchors many of our counter attacks. His timing is just a bit off, nothing a good bollocking from Jose won’t fix. The happy go lucky Serb may not be a smiley over the next couple of weeks.
The highest profile underperformer is Eden Hazard. His lack of penetration must also be put down to the fact that Cesc and Matic are not the fulcrum they were last season. He is not seeing enough of the ball is what that means. Also every premier league manager passes out “the best of Eden Hazard” clips to their defenses ahead of facing us. His tricks are under the microscope and he was always going to need to develop a few new ones after the amazing season he had last year. This will come with time.
Diego Costa is also still to recapture his top form from early last season. He MUST stop trying to be the bully in the playground and concentrate on sticking the ball in the back of the net. His slightly “hard-done-by” attitude must not be allowed to spread to the rest of our players, it hurts our overall branding and will not provide the right mental state for a team that needs to pick itself off the floor and get back to the business at hand — winning!
So as we can see few players come out of this unscathed. Which is the way it should be. We are the Champions and its all for one and one for all.
The biggest finger must be pointed at Jose Mourinho. The reason he has won so much and is considered one of the best managers in the world (both past and present) is that he fully expects the buck to stop with him. His tinkering team selection and in-house bickering (Medical staffing issue), have all contributed to our horror start at retaining the big prize.
We are only 4 games into the new campaign and are very much in disarray. This can be turned round very quickly and may hold us in good stead come the latter part of the campaign. I now know what it feels like to be a Man.Utd or Arsenal Fan over the past couple of years ….. and its no fun I’m afraid.
We have work to do and quickly.