“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall….”
The level at which ‘Humpty Dumpty’ had fallen is shocking! Its not so long ago that teams were being torn apart left right and centre by the ‘mighty’ blues. The team is now a pale shadow of itself. The above excerpt was not composed for Chelsea’s current form in the league but its the best way their position can be illustrated. Just what went wrong with the PL defending champions?
NOTHING NEW BROUGHT IN.
At the start of last season, Chelsea had just acquired Costa and Fabregas. They were relatively new in the PL and we still did not know what they were bringing in. However it did not take long for us to find out. Chelsea were demolishing opposition like a couple Lego Toys. Swansea 5-0 thrashing was the epitome of dominance so early in the season. Fabregas and Costa had forged a lethal attacking partnership. Coupled with Hazard’s brilliance down the left wing and Chelsea was unstoppable.
Fabregas made the team tick, Hazard turned defenders inside out and Costa put the icing on the cake. His second goal against Arsenal was a good example. He made a fantastic run between the two backs, Fabregas looked up and released an inch-perfect pass for the forward to chip it over Sczesney. No one knew how to stop this trio from clicking. (well until LVG gave Fella the task of shadowing Fabregas for 90 minutes in the old Trafford stalemate, then they knew.).
However towards the end of last season, they were running out of ideas. They simply couldn’t break down teams that were firmly planted in their own half. Their forward players require space to operate, there was none. Scenes of John Terry celebrating the 0-0 result at Arsenal as if they had just clinched three points was quite shocking to me.
Fast Forward to this season and this has not changed. I expected Chelsea to be busy in the transfer window as they had the difficult task of retaining the PL therefore fresh faces were required. The only forward they recruited were Pedro and the world class striker Radamel Falcao(no pun intended..seriously).
In my opinion Pedro was not a good signing. This has nothing to do with his talent or the fact that United was also linked with him. At Barcelona he was used to his team being in control of the ball and the only sprints being made were when attacking. At Chelsea he has encountered a team that is somehow allergic to the ball. They are quite happy sitting back and hitting on the counter. With their fullbacks marauding forward haphazardly, the wingers are expected to fall back and help in defending. Its a tiring process. Hazard has got on the wrong end of José’s books for his reluctance in falling back. Pedro seems a bit tired with all this. His style of play is also different. Pedro likes cutting into the box. He gets the ball out wide and drifts centrally to create space for him to belt one or simply lay it up to a forward. At Chelsea, he finds this difficult too. Hazard is in the box, Costa has already made his run in there and Oscar as the number ten is also following up. And with the opposition firmly sitting back, Pedro is clearly out of options. There is no dynamic nature in their attack.
As for Radamel Falcao, I was very irked when it was claimed that United were wasting Falcao and that we could not get the best out of him. United gave him more than enough chances. I assure you no club will ever have that kind of patience to a player. (Ask Memphis!!). So when Jose announced that he was going to get the best out of him, I watched on with great interest. He has a solitary goal in the first 10 games; the exact number of goals he had this time last season. He however has featured more times this season and has less assists. How exactly is he better? (I can’t believe I’ve used seven lines to talk about Falcao)
Jose should have endeavoured to change his tactics or bring someone with new something else to offer. The gap between Costa and his deputies is wide enough for a flock of sheep to pass through.(yes, I am praising Costa). Now that he is out with a rib injury, Chelsea will definitely not be at their best with Remy and Radamel as deputies.
LACK OF MOTIVATION.
Going back again to last season, you could tell that the players actually wanted to play. They gave their all. The fullbacks ran the full length of the pitch as though they were being paid to do it (wait, actually they are!). No one wanted to be taken off. Everyone wanted to contribute. They got the reward, with eight points separating them from their closest challengers and a PL trophy. They were ecstatic. However, the disadvantage of winning a title is that its defence starts the very next day. The defence starts with what you do outside the pitch to ensure that you perform inside the pitch. Perhaps they partied a bit too hard?
There has been no drive this season. Its like someone cut the music at a Chelsea party and ordered the team to put on their kits and shuffled them out onto the field. No one seems to know what’s happening, or what’s hitting them(Are you there Hammers?).
Because people don’t expect me to know anything about facial expressions, I will pretend I did not see a certain Chelsea player breathe a sigh of relief when the 4th official’s board has his jersey number on it. I will also not mention his name. Its almost as though he did not want to be there in the first place.
PLAYERS OUT OF FORM.
Some players are so out of form, you must wonder whether the term ‘form’ even applies to them. Ivanovic, Hazard,Fabregas and Terry were names that last season the Blues fans were signing. Now Ivanovic looks like a traumatised kid in the playground. Every winger this season has owned his a**. he seems to be like a punching bag that boxers train with before going out to meet the real challenge. Fabregas is also yet to show up for his club. His range of passing seems to have taken a dip and he is simply not doing enough. As regards Terry, I categorically saw it coming. How do you improve on perfection? He had played every minute of Chelsea’s PL campaign, Chelsea has conceded the least number of goals, he had banged in a couple of his own and had made the PL team of the season. What was left for him to do? Nothing except leave. Intelligent(Old) players leave on a high, after winning something(Scholes) lest you end up like Gerrard (Terry—LOADING). It was amazing to see how the Chelsea back four was willing to lie on the ground to block a shot. No matter how venomous it was. That’s the reason why they had the most interceptions. To top it all of, they had a world class keeper in Courtois.
Chelsea opted to part ways with Cech after an eleven year stint and recruited Begovic. Begovic thought he would play second fiddle but an injury to Courtois has thrown him to the firing line and boy he has been thrown….around(LOL). In all fairness he somehow tried but when you are at a top level club, criticism will come. He is simply not doing his part.
And therein lies Chelsea’s other problem. The fringe players are not good enough. It is for this reason that Mourinho has been hesitant to bench Ivanovic. Indeed an injury was what kept the Serbian from the team. There is no backup. In reality, Right Back is Azpi’s original position but then that would just leave LB open. Rahmann is not good enough. He wouldn’t last a day playing against top notch opposition. Zouma has also been experimented at RB but it was a huge failure( as huge as the lad himself)
which brings us to the biggest issue of them all.
First off I’d like to categorically state that I absolutely LOATH Jose. I have never been an admirer of his (anti-football) tactics. I don’t care how many LMA and MOTM awards he racks up, how many trophies he wins or how many goals his team scores. I will never consider him as a coach.(Its my blog, MY OPINION). As a Real Madrid fan, how we paid £35 million for Illaramendi is still giving me a headache. Also as a Ronaldo fan, I would credit Mourinho for turning Cris into nothing more than a goal scorer (sickening)
Mourinho has always resorted to disgraceful tactics when things don’t go his way. A good example is during his tenure as real Madrid coach. El Clasicos were always going to be heated. For one, Barce was always going to possess the ball and Real were always going to chase. Mourinho’s frustrations at Barcelona’s beautiful style of play led to him inciting his players to resort to violence. Clasicos turned into a bloody affair, tackles flying in, bloodied shirts and bloody(Red) cards.
Jose was also not left behind as he poked then Barcelona’s coach in the eye! The first Clasico after José’s exit proved the difference. The players went back to playing football. The battle was being won with the ball and not with fists. I know Chelsea fans will pretend they have not noticed where Sergio Ramos’ red cards have gone to. He has evolved from an explosive, hot-headed boy to a composed and classy defender oozing authority.
At Chelsea, we have Costa. The man hated all round. We don’t have to go so far back to find traces of his indiscipline. Against Arsenal early in the season, he was all over Koscienly, his hands clearly covering his face. What the hell? He again made ‘enough’ contact for Kos to go down, he also went down and indicated to the ref that that challenge was worthy of a yellow card. There were at least four instances where Costa should have been booked. Instead, he was only given a yellow card. He also contributed and made the most of an accidental contact between Gabriel’s boot and his leg for the Arsenal defender to be sent off. During the post match statement, Jose seemed to infer that he was in support of Costa’s way of playing. Apparently, ‘its his way of playing and I will not tell him to change.’
Jose also seems to think his don’t care attitude makes him appealing or witty. Stop, dude it doesn’t work. In yesterday’s press release, he stated that Costa’s rib injury was because he has punched himself. Funny? Maybe. But what he fails to realize is that this is exactly how the English media want him to react. He recently hit out at the media for focusing on off-field issues. I have never been fond of the English media but by Jove they worked Mourinho into a fix. His decision to abscond media duties after the league cup elimination was clear evidence of this. An offence which the FA has duly charged him for. What makes these interviews more interesting is the fact that the media uses Mourinho’s own words against him. The question of how he has made Falcao better is yet to be answered. He also stated that Hazard was better than Ronaldo. I remember the five second silence in the room before a host of hands shot up, Cameras whirling, Light bulbs flashing and pens making furious contact with notebooks. Hazard has missed his second penalty in a row. Better than Ronaldo? Ronaldo has 10 goals in 10 games. Hazard has 0 in 10 games. Better than Ronaldo? I’m so incensed I could do a blog post as to how ‘Hazard is better than Ronaldo’.
In Mourinho’s books, he can also never be wrong. Part of leadership is bearing the brunt. Not the case with Jose. Its always the officials mistakes that CFC did not win. We are tired of this excuse man. Its an offence that will continually land him in trouble with the FA. The association will not relent in punishing him.
One of the lowest moments of football was how the Eva Carneiro issue was handled by all parties. For one its standard procedure that when the referee signals the medic team, they should come onto the pitch at once. This is what happened in the Swansea game but the whole world was shocked in how Mourinho reacted. He threw his hands and shouted his lungs out.
He claimed that Carneiro did not understand football and she should not have gone onto the pitch. That sounds so sexist if you ask me. Watching replays of the altercation, you can clearly see Mourinho mouth something that has Eva stop dead in her tracks and turn back to look at him, visibly angry and disgusted.
Chelsea decision to support her demotion was also peculiar. What tops it all of is also how the FA handled the investigations. Eva was never called upon to give her evidence. How could a verdict be reached that José’s conduct did not warrant any punishment yet both sides of the story were not heard? Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done.
I’m very happy that José’s world is crumbling around him. He has now lost 6 of his last 12 PL games. Prior to this, he had only lost 6 in his last 64PL games! Chelsea have now lost 7 in 15 games in all competitions this season.
No team has won the league after garnering less than 18 points after 10 games. Chelsea has 11. also no team has qualified for top four with less than 13 points after 10 games……
“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”