A lot has been made of Chelsea’s poor form over the last three or four months. Fans of Premier League clubs have gleefully sat back and watched as the reigning champions have slipped up time after at time at the hands of teams that they would have beaten this time last year. There are a number of theories of why a team who cantered to the title last year by 16 points are wallowing in 14th place behind West Bromwich Albion. The question cannot be answered with one single answer, there are a number of reasons as to why Chelsea have been so poor this year.
I believe that the first reason for the blues poor displays is the sheer arrogance of the club; mainly from the man the fans would of hailed as the new Messiah last year. Jose Mourinho has obviously been a successful man in football and is loved by Chelsea fans of all ages, however the handling of his reign this year has been strange and it all began before the season had even kicked off.
In the transfer window Mourinho sat by idly as his rivals spent millions bringing in the world’s best players to mount an attack against his side. Manchester City brought in Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne, while Manchester United strengthened with youngsters Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial as well as bringing in German midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich.
Granted Chelsea did sign Barcelona’s Pedro for £20 million but that was where the improvements stopped. Chelsea allowed one of the world’s best keepers to leave to their London rivals Arsenal and replaced him with Asmir Begovic from Stoke City. In the attacking quarter they signed Radamel Falcao on loan who hadn’t adapted to English football during the previous season while on loan at Manchester United scoring just four goals in 29 appearances. The signings of Pedro and Falcao were joined by a string of questionable signings including Michael Hector from Reading and Nantes defender 27-year-old Papy Djilobodji who has played just once for the club.
Mourinho’s reluctance to sign big name players has played its part but isn’t the only reason for his clubs downward spiral. The management of his players and staff this year has also been a sticking point.
Of course we all remember the incident with Eva Carneiro who left the club and plans to sue Mourinho for how she was treated. That whole fiasco didn’t cast a positive light on Mourinho and nor has the management of his players. It’s hard me to sit here and say he’s coaching his players wrong as I have no experience managing a football club, however I can say that publicly arguing with star striker Diego Costa and benching your club player of the year Eden Hazard is certainly a strange move. Of course Mourinho was quick to defend himself saying there is no animosity between himself and Costa and he benched Hazard for under-performing when being picked. Whatever spin the silky tongued manager puts on it, arguing with players and being sued cannot create a positive atmosphere to get results to mount a serious title defence.
Another reason for the turmoil Chelsea is in is quite simple, they’re simply not as good as last year. In the successful season of 2014-15 as boring as it was to watch, they were brilliant. They had incredible players who scored goals backed-up by a fantastic midfield and defence that kept the ball away from their goal.
This year things are different, they are struggling for goals, the bastion of English football John Terry looks a shadow of his former self and Cesc Fabregas in the middle of the park has had some awful performances. Teams are no longer scared of playing against Chelsea – Crystal Palace, Southampton, Liverpool and now Bournemouth have all claimed three points against them at Stamford Bridge. It also doesn’t help that all the Premier League teams are getting better excluding the increasingly doomed Newcastle and Aston Villa. Incidentally, Chelsea only managed a draw against Newcastle. But other teams such as Everton, West Ham and Crystal Palace are all looking very good and are in positions Chelsea would be expecting to higher than at this part of the season.
Fans are slowly starting to lose patience in their beloved blues and there are a select few who are calling for Mourinho’s head. Things are clearly getting to the Portuguese as his appearances in the media are becoming less common and when he does appear his answers are short and blunt. Although it would be hard for the club to sack the man who has brought them so much over the years, the talk in the terraces will continue to rumble until the club starts to climb the league table.
It’s been a tough time for Chelsea fans this year, but fear not, January is coming – a welcome time to possibly bring in some new blood and breathe new life into the club. Rest assured that things can surely not get worse.