There is a famous saying that goes – “The bigger they are, the harder they fall” – and nothing else seems to best describe the situation that Jose Mourinho is facing at the moment. It is indeed interesting to note how Chelsea were the triumphant, deserving and strong winners of the Premier League title last season and, today, how the mighty have fallen!
Mourinho had never lost seven leagues games in a single season in 15 years as a manager before last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Stoke. And it’s said to be Chelsea’s worst ever start to a season, and the worst Premier League title defence ever seen. Chelsea are three points off the relegation places and a whopping 15 points off Manchester City in top spot.
While Chelsea fans wallow in their grief and the non-Chelsea fans enjoy this situation, here’s an analysis of what actually or what could be the reasons that led to said situation.
Once a determined and essential player in many a fantasy football manager’s back four, as well as being in the Premier League Team of the Year for 2015, the Serbian has seemingly been drained of all his powers this season. He’s been turned inside out many a time this season but sadly, he isn’t the only Chelsea defender to be struggling at this point.
JOHN TERRY’S WOES:
The former England captain played every minute of Chelsea’s title winning season and was also in the Premier League Team of the Year, but this campaign started off badly for Terry and has got worse. He was hooked at half-time at Manchester City by Mourinho in the second game of the season as the Blues went on to lose 3-0 and has played in all but one of their league defeats since then.
THE FAILED JOHN STONES DEAL:
Defence is an integral part of any club in the Premier League, and with both Ivanovic and Terry struggling, Chelsea could have benefited if they managed to sign John Stones. The Everton starlet looks like the perfect long-term replacement for Terry but after a very public courting of the young Toffee, Jose failed to land his man before the end of the summer transfer window.
To add salt to an already stinging injury, Everton fans sang “Money can’t buy you Stones” to Mourinho as they inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the Blues in September and since then it’s been more of a long and winding road down the league for Jose.
PAPY DEAL PROVED UNWORTHY:
Mourinho did get his hands on a new defender on deadline day, however, but it wasn’t quite a signing of the stature of John Stones. And Chelsea fans have seen Papy Djilobodji (or Papy Nobodji as some fans have cruelly dubbed him) play just once since arriving – a substitute appearance in the League Cup at Walsall – despite being a regular for Nantes in Ligue 1 for years. And at 26 he isn’t exactly one for the future.
The Belgian goalkeeper has had a terribly unlucky season to far. He was sent off on the opening day of the new campaign against Swansea and then lasted two more games before a devastating knee injury.
The Blues have gone on to lost five of the next eight league games with just Asmir Begovic and a handful of youth team goalkeepers left available.
BIDDING GOODBYE TO CECH:
According to several football fanatics, this was perhaps the biggest mistake Chelsea made among a host of others.
Regularly one of the best performers in the Premier League, the big Czech keeper was allowed to join rivals Arsenal in the summer for £10m after seemingly losing his place to Thibaut Courtois.
However, that knee injury to the Belgian has exposed how shortsighted it was to let Cech go, especially to a title rival, and unsurprisingly he’s been a success at the Emirates, keeping six clean sheets and making numerous saves.
Another Chelsea player struggling to recapture the form of last season is Cesc Fabregas. The Spanish playmaker was involved in the most Chelsea goals last campaign, especially at the start of the season when they effectively ran away with the title. But this season the assists and goals have dried up. Blues’ fans are losing patience with him as he continues struggling.
The midfield star that allowed the likes of Fabregas to go forward and create assists last season has been a mere shadow of his former self. To further illustrate the point, here’s a quote by Mourinho himself:
“You see Matic lost an easy pass against Aston Villa,” Mourinho has said. “The first reaction he had was to show disappointment by throwing his arms. When you are full of confidence you don’t show disappointment.”
With Matic out of form, Chelsea’s whole system comes crashing down.
EDEN HAZARD, WHERE ART THOU?
Rarely has a PFA Player of the Year suffered such a terrible fall so quickly but Eden Hazard is now similar to somebody who has no idea about football play. No goals this season and just two assists from a midfielder who scored 21 times last campaign and gave nightmares to opposition defences. However, he seems to regain his old form for newly crowned FIFA ranking toppers Belgium though so something must be up for him at Stamford Bridge.
DRAMA QUEEN COSTA:
While Fabregas and Hazard seem to have problems focusing on their game, striker Diego Costa seems to have a problem with not picking a fight with everyone he comes up against.
It feels like the striker has mixed up the EPL and WWE this season and as a result has lost his eye for goal. After being dominated by Palace’s Damien Delaney in the opening week it seems the Spaniard is more worried about proving his fighting skills rather than his goalscoring skills, which only spells further trouble for Chelsea.
MOURINHO’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH CONTROVERSIES:
He crossed a major line by sacking the club doctor Eva Carneiro. Dr Carneiro is widely respected in the game and Jose got this one very wrong. His subsequent refusal to back down and her departure from the club has coincided with the team’s terrible form. Could it be that the players lost a bit of respect for their manager after this fiasco?
The manager is a shadow of his former charismatic, witty self. Now, he just refuses to answer any questions and sometimes doesn’t even show up for post-match media duties. He used to be bullet proof and able to fend off even the toughest questions with a quick quip but now he doesn’t seem to have an answer for anything.
If he loses his charm, what else does he have?
More importantly, what will Chelsea have then?