Gary Cahill has expressed his frustration at the number of games Chelsea are having to play and argues it has had an effect on their individual performances.
Cahill admitted to Chelsea TV that the fixture pile up from the start of Premier League season is clearly costing his team vital points; particularly against the big clubs. “We haven’t had a clear week for what, 29 weeks, and you’re expected to go into games 100% fresh trying to push on in every competition.” He went on to say; “You don’t want to make excuses but it’s a fact.”
The disappointing performance against the Premier League champions in Manchester on Sunday was Chelsea’s 46th game of the season; five more matches than Arsenal. The Super Cup and FIFA World Club Cup have been added commitments alongside Premier League games, European games and domestic cup matches.
The Chelsea defender also made a point of suggesting that the defence are being made to defend too much and wants to see more from the key players who are further up the pitch. “Yes, (I did a lot of defending) way too much really. I don’t know why or what was wrong. Normally you probably get asked to do three or four important things in a game, against Man City I probably had 20-25. I’d like to not be doing as much defending. I thought we didn’t create that many chances, we had to defend as a team a lot.”
The demanding schedule continues for Chelsea this week as they have to travel to the North-East to face Middlesbrough on Wednesday in the FA Cup, they then have to return to London to take on West Brom in the league before heading to Romania for their Europa League tie against Steaua Bucharest.
There is certainly a valid argument to be made that ultimately, if a club has not had a full week to recuperate since the 31st August 2012 (when they lost the Super Cup to Atletico Madrid); performances will be affected. Cahill stressed his argument to Sky Sports by pointing to a comparison of their play at the start of the season to the quality fans are seeing now. “At the start of the season you saw the spark and zip we had, I think sometimes fatigue plays its part.” Chelsea fans who watch their team every week will agree that levels have dropped during the course of the season but it is a reality of modern-day football that clubs who are successful, pay the price for their achievements in the following season.
Having played so many games so far this season and in so many different competitions; it would be considered a major disappointment if they fail to achieve a trophy.