However, one win in six league games and defeat in the Champions League in Marseille the other night has to be regarded as a serious slump. They have been missing some important players but the return of John Terry and Michael Essien has not, as yet, done anything to halt the decline.
Although Chelsea had already qualified as leaders, making the game in Marseille of little importance in terms of the result, they would have hoped for a decent performance to raise the spirits ahead of tough and crucial games against Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal. Unfortunately they didn’t get that performance and showed the same lack of cohesion and confidence that has been evident of late, before going down 1-0 to a late goal.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti is coming under increasing pressure and he admitted that he is worried by the current situation,
“I’m worried just because we’re not doing our best. This is the problem. We have to do better. I would like the team to move on quickly from this moment. It’s not a good moment. The bad moment continues, but we have to keep going. We’ve lost some confidence in our play. Now we have to come back, keep going and look forward. We have a great opportunity to do that against Tottenham on Sunday, a difficult game away against a top team.”
The manager was keen to stress that both he and the players have what it takes to turn things around,
“We have to come back. I’m not low, I’m strong. I want to resolve this quickly and I am focused on my job. I think my players have that same focus – I’m sure they have. We have a lot of players with fantastic character and personality.”
Going into the game at Tottenham Ancelotti had some good news and some bad news. Jose Bosingwa, recently back from a long lay off, will miss the game after injuring a hamstring in France, but Frank Lampard may be able to play his first game since April.
“Bosingwa has a hamstring problem, so he’s not available for the next game, but Frank trained today and had a good session. We’ll take a decision in the next two days. He’ll train with us.”
Marseille manager Didier Deschamps was thrilled with the win but knows that Chelsea are not firing on all cylinders at the moment. He accepts that should the sides meet in the competition later on it will be a very different proposition,
“Chelsea are not having a successful spell at the moment. Maybe it was a good time to play them tonight. In February they will be a totally different team.”
Should Chelsea be beaten by Tottenham at the weekend they will be just one point ahead of their London rivals. More importantly, they could find themselves seven and five points behind Manchester United and Arsenal with games against those two teams to come next. Unless Chelsea can find some form and some points in those games their Premier League chances could effectively be over by the end of the month.
If that were to happen then I would definitely concur that there are real problems at Chelsea. I truly believed they would run away with the title this season.
On the other hand, of course, three wins in those three games and Chelsea will be firm favourites again. For the first time in a few seasons the race at the top of the Premier League is actually quite exciting.
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