“Naismith with the hattrick! Unbelievable!” cried commentators as Everton took down Chelsea 3-1, placing Chelsea in further trouble as they sit in 17th place. Today, I will discuss why Chelsea have been struggling this much so far this season.
Poor Summer Window:
The champions have been out of form since last January. Fabregas and Oscar “fell off the Earth”, Cahill struggled, and Cuadrado was becoming a bust. They needed to make signings to boost the midfield and defense, which Jose Mourinho said he had targets made in April.
But with new signings, those troubles should be gone, right?
That’s not the case. Chelsea did struggle this transfer window. Besides the signing of Pedro and Falcao, the Blues weren’t the powerful force that could pull any player to play at. The most famous saga was the young Everton center-back John Stones. The Blues sent multiple bids to Everton, ranging from 25 million pounds to 30 million pounds, but Everton kept rejecting. The Toffees held out to get a record fee of 40 million pounds, but the Blues decided not to match.
Since Roman Abromavich bought Chelsea, when has money been an issue? Why were we quick to buy Fernando Torres for 50 million pounds (and we all know how that went…).
I get it. After Torres, Roman may be reluctant to splash the cash on players. But when Chelsea bought Torres, he was already dipping in form. Stones has proven (and he did against Chelsea last weekend) he is capable of being a solid, consistent defender.
According to the DailyMail, Chelsea failed to sign three major players: Paul Pogba, John Stones, and Marquinhos.
The only argument against Chelsea spending money is they’re holding out to renovate Stamford Bridge. Which, honestly, wouldn’t be a bad idea. But it hasn’t been clear if the transfer budget would be made smaller because of this.
One of Jose Mourinho’s biggest pieces of criticism: Ignoring his youth. It is a common thing for Chelsea fans to discuss whether or not they should spend money on already famous players or give the youngsters a shot.
We saw Jose give some youth a chance at the end of last season. Izzy Brown debuted for Chelsea against West Brom, and we saw more and more of Ruben Loftus-Cheek over the course of last season. He said the youth would be given a shot this year.
Where has that activity from youth been?
Loftus-Cheek has proven he is a great prospect and can play with the best. He played fantastic against Maccabi Tel-Aviv and showed how he can play first team football.
Kenedy is another good example. He’s been played in different positions than his natural position (right wing) and still played well. His most famous (and personally I can’t watch this enough) was his elastico against Crystal Palace, but here are his highlights against Crystal Palace. Since Pedro and Willian are out for the game against Arsenal, Kenedy deserves his shot.
My final example of the ignoring of youth is Baba Rahman. It has been clear as a blue sky that Ivanovic is playing poorly and has given up more goals than he should this season. Since the Blues sold Felipe Luis (I’m still questioning that), they needed a left-back replacement. They bought the FC Augsburg left back Baba Rahman. He debuted against Maccabi Tel-Aviv and played well. A few passes were off and his positioning at points was off, but with a few games he will fit right in. An ideal situation would be Mourinho drops Ivanovic, moves Azpilicueta to right-back, and Baba slotted in at the left-back position.
Players Being Out of Form or Injured:
This one doesn’t need much explaining honestly. Many key players have been out of form or injured. Most notably, Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill have not been playing like the great players they are. Hazard, who was criticized as being “the worst player” on the Belgian National Team against Cyprus by his own manager, and Costa has looked lost on the field as he isn’t as prone to shoot on goal. He’s decided to try and walk it in (maybe he wants to move to North London and play for Arsenal).
Other players such as Thibaut Courtois and Oscar have been unlucky to be injured. That is something players and Chelsea can’t help.
Winning the title sets the expectations as high as they can go. Chelsea, however, are given a high expectation every season where winning at least one trophy is the standard. The Blues may be back on track as they defeated Maccabi Tel-Aviv 4-0 to open up Champions League play. However, through these struggles Mourinho needs to take the blame. You never see Van Gaal blame the refs, he says it was a defensive error or he pins it on his team. The old “the result wasn’t fair to how we played” excuse is getting old. But, now we must sit and watch how Chelsea will carry that into this weekend against title rival Arsenal.
I write about the beautiful game. From the smallest islands to the biggest teams, it all will be covered.