The wheels have fallen off for Chelsea after most damaging defeat of the season

44

Chelsea’s creative drop-off was laid bare at West Ham after the sending off of Jose Mourinho and Nemanja Matic sent the champions crashing again.
Jose Mourinho has spent this season lurching from crisis to crisis. The 15 minute spell before half-time today was a microcosm of Chelsea’s campaign so far as they flirted with catastrophe in farcical circumstances.

A season that began with the unsavoury fallout over club doctor Eva Carneiro’s treatment of Eden Hazard has barely let up since. Manager Mourinho has been at his most embittered in the last few months, a most severe case of third-season syndrome, even by his own lofty standards; increasingly erratic behaviour and increasingly nonsensical press conferences betray a man losing control of a situation so anathema to the standards he demands.

s2

But this defeat, coming after an encouraging week where defensive unity had been restored, where a corner seemed to have been turned, represents Mourinho’s most damaging loss of the season.

Chelsea will receive a substantial fine from the FA for failing to control their players after seven bookings were dished out to blue shirts – two to Nemanja Matic in an incident-packed first-half. That’s the least of Jose Mouinho’s worries, though it paints the picture of a side who have lost their way, a side who were crowned Premier League champions only five months previously after leading the table from the end of August.

After coasting to the title with ease the wheels haven’t fallen off so much as the entire wagon has careered off course and blown up. Chelsea managers have been sacked for far less than this by Roman Abramovich.

The numbers are stacking up against Mourinho and Chelsea in a start to the season that is becoming less and less believable the longer it continues. Fifteenth after losing half of their opening 10 games Mourinho is breaking new ground at the club:

– With only 11 points after 10 matches, Chelsea set a new club record for fewest points at this stage of a Premier League season (13 in 1992/93, 1993/94 and 2000/01).

– Only twice before have Chelsea conceded two or more goals in each of their opening five away matches of a top flight season (7 in 1961/62 and 5 in 1934/35).

– Chelsea concede two or more goals in six consecutive top flight away matches for the first time since a run of eight in a row from September to December 1990.

– Chelsea trailed in PL matches for only 245 minutes in the whole of last season. They have already surpassed that tally in only the 10th PL match of this campaign.

s3

The defence has regressed and aged, but it’s the complete and utter breakdown of Chelsea’s forward players that is the most striking. Willian, often considered the most functional and workmanlike of Mourinho’s attacking options has been their creative hub, which says as much about the others as it does his won surge in form.

Eden Hazard, last season’s double Football of the Year, has one goal and three assists this season, Diego Costa two and two and Cesc Fabregas a meagre lone assist. Jose Mourinho’s defensive demands stifle attacking players. The coming-and-going of Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle, Mohamed Salah and Juan Cuadrado has left Chelsea’s attacking resources thin on the ground. You get the impression that Pedro could just be the latest on the conveyor belt after an underwhelming beginning to his time at Stamford Bridge.

A player of Hazard’s quality doesn’t need to fit into a tactical straitjacket or be shoehorned into a system, he just needs letting loose. His mind is muddled by all the demands put upon him by the manager that he looks a shadow of the player who spearheaded last season’s title charge.

The Belgian’s malaise is symptomatic of a team that has lost its attacking intent and purpose; he and the players have become the victims of a siege mentality created entirely in the mind of Jose Mourinho.

Author: EuroSports

Comments are closed.