Chelsea’s problems go beyond Jose and Ivanovic

Last season Chelsea strolled to the title: fewest losses, least goals conceded, solid at the back and menacing in attack. For many peo...

Last season Chelsea strolled to the title: fewest losses, least goals conceded, solid at the back and menacing in attack. For many people the collective team of the season would have been Chelsea’s starting XI, with Alexis Sanchez thrown in. 

This season the team is unrecognisable, the trademark defensive solidity has been replaced with one of the leakiest back fours in the league, while the attack looks listless and unimaginative. It’s rare for last season’s champions to not be strong contenders in the title race, but at this stage even the bookies don’t fancy them, with Ladbrokes putting them at 20/1 outsiders. For context they put Juventus as 5/2 winners in Serie A, and they’re languishing in 12th place!

It’s easy to place the blame on Mourinho’s shoulders, and as the team’s manager this is indeed on him, but the problem extends far beyond the man sitting in the dugout.

Chelsea had a frankly bizarre transfer window. Baba Rahman and Begovic were smart signings but the arrival of Barcelona stalwart Pedro made little sense. For a team that has Cuadrado (a far better player than last season suggested) and Salah on their books why purchase a 28 year old in the same position? There was also the utterly baffling signing of Papy Djilobodji, a player nobody in or out of France rates. 

The club also brought in Falcao, off the back of a horrendous season at Man United. The Colombian’s fall from grace is one of the strangest tales in football but even a casual observer could highlight what a huge risk he is.

The club also signed another wave of talented youngsters, including Brazilians Kenedy and Nathan and Danilo Pantic and farmed out over 30 players on loan to clubs ranging from Juventus to Hibs. The clubs approach to youth is bizarre; they have one of the best U18 sides around, a wealth of players crying out for serious first team action yet none ever seem to break through the peripheries of the first team. Even Baba Rahman – an experienced Bundesliga player – doesn’t seem to be risked.

During his seven minute ramble Jose declared that he is still the best man for the job, does 8 points from 8 games show that he is? Does a highly decorated career spanning over a decade suggest that he isn’t?

 The club need to buy smarter, Jose needs to change formation – 4-3-3 not 4-2-3-1 – and the fullback pairing needs to be Azpilicueta and Rahman. Ivanovic has been a great servant to the club but right now he is a great big target for opposing teams to run at, and it’s costing the team badly. 
But most importantly, the club needs to avoid a knee-jerk sacking of Mourinho, it won’t solve the wider issues and there is nobody more decorated or more capable out there.

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