What has happened to Chelsea?
December 9, 2010 1 Comment
What is the form of Champions? Scintillating football without losing a game? well only one team has ever done that in the Premier League, but most champions hit that ‘bad patch’, the part of the season where wins are a distant memory! If Chelsea are to be the 2010/2011 Premier League champions then November/December will certainly be remembered as their ‘bad patch’!
The season couldn’t have started better for the reigning Champions, back to back opening game, 6-0 wins against West Brom and Wigan marked the start of a five match winning streak in the Premier League. From the five games Chelsea scored 21 goals and conceeded just 1… definitely the form of Champions. Despite losing to Man City in September Chelsea continued their fine form throughout October taking 10 points from 12. Also importantly for the blues main title rivals Arsenal and Man United were continuously dropping points! I’m sure I was not alone in placing a bet on Chelsea to win the league…but that bet now looks a bit shaky!
Chelsea have now won just two out of their last 8 Premier League and Champions League games…certainly not the form of Champions!
But where has it gone wrong for Chelsea?…why are they now struggling after dominating games in the early stages of the season?
Chelsea have had their fair share of injury woes over the last month. Despite being without Lampard for the beginning of the season; the loss of influential players such as Terry and Essien have been without doubt a major blow for the Blues.
Despite Chelski buying their way to the position they are in today there has been one player that has been irriplaceable…..John Terry. Terry has
been the heart of not only the Chelsea defence but the Chelsea side. Despite sleeping with his team-mates girlfriends off the pitch, Terry has been an influential figure on the pitch, and certainly a player who is very hard to replace. It is because of Terry’s reliability that Chelsea lack cover in defence. After the departure of Carvalho in the summer, long-time back up Alex has had to step up into the first team. But apart from right back Ivanovic there is no other established player in the squad who can play at centre back. Alex and Ivanovic are both good players but they need that ‘influential player’ next to them…that player that takes responsibility and organises the defence.
It is not just the defence that lack Terry’s presence, the team do. In previous years when Terry has been out the responsibility has fallen to Lampard. Together Terry and Lampard form the spine of the team. I have mentioned in previous blogs,that I feel a team must have a ‘core’ of English players to dominate the Premier League. Man United have relied on an English core in the past and Chelsea’s recent success has been structured around Lampard and Terry. But with both players out in the last month Chelsea have missed their home grown ‘core’. Whether it be because Lampard and Terry are leaders or because they are made with a certain English grit Chelsea have certainly missed their presence the last month.
Another influential character that has been lost in the Chelsea dressing room has ben Ray Wilkins. Since his departure in early November Chelsea have failed to win a Premier League game. Despite players such as Drogba playing down the link between Wilkins departure and the sides current misfortune, it is hardly a stat to take lightly. Wilkins brough an in-depth knowledge of the English game to the Chelsea coaching staff. Having played for England in the 80’s he has also enjoyed success at Chelsea, Man Utd and Rangers. Before being made Assistant at Chelsea he coached at the Blues as well as coaching England under 21’s, Fulham and Millwall. Despite winning the Premier league last year Ancelotti has only had one season in England and his replacement Michael Emenalo is completely inexperienced at the top level. The lack of experience at the top of the English game will no doubt have an effect on Chelsea’s performance in the long run, especially when their two biggest rivals are the two longest serving managers in the English game.
I doubt we will ever know what happened between Wilkins and Chelsea but I’m sure his departure has partially lead to Chelsea’s current slump.
As to where Chelsea will go from here…I am sure they will come back fighting, but it certainly won’t be easy. Their next three games are Tottenham (A), Man Utd (H) and Arsenal (A) respectively. Come May, If Chelsea are to be Champions they need to find form and find form very quickly. With Terry back fit and with Lampard’s return imminent they will be back to their best on the pitch however the inexperienced coaching staff may be caught out when mixing it with the three most experienced managers in the division!
Read a similar blog post by upper90magazine: Premier League vs La Liga