Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Is it too early to call crisis at Chelsea?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 30 Aug 2015

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Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will have plenty of time to think during the two week international break

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will have plenty of time to think during the two week international break

Four games into the Premier League campaign and reigning champions Chelsea have collected just four points, and won just one of their league games.

Yesterday the Blues suffered a 2-1 home defeat against London rivals Crystal Palace, only their second ever league defeat under Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.

Worrying

Chelsea fans must be worried that their team have failed to win home games against Swansea and now Palace. Maybe the players have become complacent after last season’s comfortable title victory.

Strangely for a team full of supposed high-quality international players they look like they are lacking confidence at the moment. They are a shadow of the team that looked so dominant last season in winning the Premier League title.

The sluggish start will have everybody at the club wondering what has happened to the strong team this season.

Behind

Chelsea’s poor start to the league campaign means that title rivals Manchester City are already eight points clear at the top of the table. The concerning thing for Chelsea is that the Citizens have started the campaign in such a confident manner.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini has improved his squad with the signings of centre-back Nicolas Otamendi and of course Raheem Sterling. If reports are to be believed then former-Chelsea playmaker Kevin De Bruyne could also soon join the Citizens.

City’s key players from previous seasons have rediscovered their top form with centre-back Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure in particular starting the campaign in a strong manner.

Strength

A lot of clubs who have just won a league title go out and make sure that they strengthen from a position of power. They make sure that their team is better and stronger than the previous season, so that any challengers for that hard won title find it difficult to compete.

However, Chelsea did not do that. While Manchester City, Manchester United and even Liverpool were out improving their squads, the champions brought in only striker Radamel Falcao, ‘keeper Asmir Begovic, and more recently Ghana full-back Baba Rahman.

Arguably the Chelsea squad that started this campaign is actually weaker than last season. Begovic is a decent ‘keeper, but he was always going to be back-up to Thibaut Courtois and arrived as a direct replacement for Petr Cech. The signing did not strengthen the starting eleven though.

The signing of Colombian striker Falcao on-loan from Monaco was also a similar move. The Blues released veteran Ivorian striker Didier Drogba and Falcao arrived after a highly-underwhelming campaign on-loan at Manchester United last season.

The signing was a surprising one, but it was not a major gamble by Blues boss Jose Mourinho because Falcao was only ever going to be a back-up option to Spanish striker Diego Costa. The former-Atletico Madrid striker was never going to be a key player at Stamford Bridge.

Even new left-back Baba Rahman has started his Chelsea career on the Blues bench, after recently arriving from Augsburg, although the Ghana international may now get his chance after the international break.

There could not have been more of a contrast between this summer’s signings and last summers. Last summer Chelsea bought in Spanish internationals Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, who both proved to be key players in the Blues title triumph in the last campaign.

Changes

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had this to say after yesterday’s game: “If a player is not performing, there are two ways to look at it,”

“The first one is that I trust the player so much that I will wait for the improvement. You wait, wait, and wait and maybe it comes or it doesn’t come.

“Or, even when you are trusting the player, (there) arrives a moment when you think, ‘I have to change’. And I can go both ways.”

It sounds like the Portuguese boss is now prepared to make changes to his team, but maybe he should have been pro-active, rather than reactive.

Obviously he did not know that his team would struggle in the opening games of the campaign, but he is regarded as a top boss and should have noticed the little signs of his team becoming slightly stale and acted.

Manchester City were in a similar situation last season and that is why they struggled to challenge Chelsea last season. It’s very early in the campaign, but the signs suggest that it may be the Blues that struggle to live with City this season.

Return

Chelsea are struggling at to find form at the moment and have dropped to odds of 6/1 after starting the campaign as favourites.

The Blues will no doubt return to form at some point this season, because there is simply too much talent in that Chelsea squad, but the question is will that form be too little too late for Chelsea to win the Premier League title?

Is it too early to call crisis at Chelsea?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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