And even as we speak, top teams in Europe as Barcelona FC, Real Madrid and even Italian giants Juventus, continue to struggle to get their seasons underway as their campaigns have already been marred by faltering starts that have seen them drop vital points where they normally do not. It is time for Jose Mourinho to try something different; something somewhat outside of his comfort zone: like showing more confidence in youngsters such as Baba Rahman, Kenedy, and especially the promising young England U-21 international, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has showed a lot of promise in the few minutes he has featured for Chelsea this season.
As straightforward as Mourinho’s winning the league last season may sound, following the January 1 loss, Chelsea struggled to sustain the same momentum that saw them catch the fancy of football followers all around the world in the first half of 2014/15 season. It is actually not that difficult to understand why managers stand by their key players in times of bad form; for as the saying goes: “Form is temporal while class is permanent.” But what is rather peculiar in the case of the Chelsea boss is the fact that he chooses to completely overlook the shortcomings of certain players in key positions in his team altogether. This fact became apparent following his side’s worst defeat last season in their 5:3 loss to Tottenham Hotspurs on New Year’s day at White Hart Lane. But I believe if he does not come up with an alternative to the likes of Fabregas and Ivanovic fast, his hopes (and new goal) of finishing in the Top 4 could well fade away right before his very eyes.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel
As daunting as the task that lay ahead of Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea side may appear, there, however, seem to be a glimmer of hope that the Blues could dig themselves out of the mess they have found themselves in their most difficult start to a premier league season in over two decades
Truth is, since their elimination from last season’s champions league at the hands of French heavyweights PSG, Chelsea have looked like a team in serious need of some restructuring and in certain areas, a complete overhaul altogether. While pundits continually called Mourinho lack of faith in his youth players to question and clamoured for change, the Portuguese remained resolute, justifying his choice of sticking with only a handful of his squad with results that saw his side win 2 silverware last campaign.
Much of the defensive blame has been heaped on the big Serb as his defensive qualities that saw him end last season on a very high note has been called to question all season.
Mourinho has made no secret of his total trust in his first team, and when he has been in doubt so far, he has stuck with two of his biggest flops of the season in Ivanovic and Fabregas. Chelsea’s defense and midfield have been the most suspect of areas with Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabragas the main culprits.
As for Cesc Fabregas, his slow start to the season that was earlier masked by Chelsea’s defensive problems has suddenly come to the fore 8 matches into the season, as stats have revealed not only the Spaniards attacking blemishes, but also his defensive shortcomings. In fact, I remember kidding with a Chelsea buddy of mine that: “Mourinho’s love or Fabregas will be the death of him and Chelsea.” Eight matches into the season and I am totally convinced that Chelsea’s team selection has been the bane of their season.
The onus lies solely on the Portuguese gaffer to put his money where his mouth is and start showing fans and critics alike why he has come to be regarded as one of the greatest football bosses of all time.
In a nutshell, a poor start to a season is nothing new in football. As reliable as John Mikel Obi and Ramires have been in the past, both player are not particularly adept to making it count in the finally third as quick decision-making has never been their forte.. But while these top teams are expected to pick up the pace at some point in the season and get back to where they belong in their various leagues, what makes Chelsea’s situation a bit different and rather precarious even, is their star manager’s continued insistence on fielding the same team every weekend – disregarding the stats that reflects how certain players are seriously under-performing and how much his team is in dire need of a change in his starting personnel.
While Mourinho’s reluctance to drop Ivanovic makes little sense, his continued inclusion of Fabregas in his team in every game so far is either a reflection of his faith in his out-of-form “star” man or an indication of the lack of depth of his Chelsea side.
3. The Chelsea boss has admitted that some drastic changes may have to be made to turn the fortunes of his side around. And with the international break and the recent vote of confidence by the Chelsea Board, the Chelsea boss has a lot of time to ponder on his “Plan B” and how to get his lads out of this hell-hole before time runs out on his 2nd term at the Bridge.
Faith & Preference
After watching Chelsea get mauled by Manchester City in their second game of the season, I was sure that Mourinho’s faith in certain squad members will be Chelsea undoing this season. Jose Mourinho needs to start doing things differently if he is to redeem himself and save his worst start to a football season in all of his managerial career. Squad Depth & Anti-Rotation
It is no secret that Jose Mourinho has little confidence in youth hence his over-reliance on the same group of players, week-in week-out. In fact, but for the stuttering performances of the chasing pack (especially Manchester City) that saw any chance of a catch-up blown away long before the end of the season, Chelsea’s form in the final stretch of their 2014/15 season was far from those of champions.
The definition of lunacy is doing the same thing over and expecting a different outcome. He has looked a shadow of himself in every game he has played and Mourinho’s undue confidence in him coupled with his unjustified choice in naming Ivanovic as captain in the absence of John Terry brings to question certain aspects of the Chelsea boss’ decision making. The former Arsenal and Barcelona man has contributed almost nothing so far and his lone assist against Arsenal all season can not begin to compare with the number he garnered in his first season at Chelsea where he already had double digits at the point in the season.
I am strongly of the opinion that the gifted multi-linguist must match his declaration that tough measures must be taken to address the crisis in his team with quick and decisive action. Mourinho’s difficulty in dropping players like Fabregas reflects the lack of depth in his side as he does not have that many options to call upon for creativity in the middle of the pact
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