Chelsea have gone backward as a result of standing still. It’s that simple. Judging by their first four performances, it is clear that the Blues won’t survive a long campaign with the players that they currently have.
Success in a season as long as Chelsea’s requires squad depth in every position. It also relies on the fact that in each match, a different group of players step up.
Chelsea need competition at each position, they need to have players fighting for their spot, each day at training. They had that last season. The perfect example is Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma. The young Frenchman pushed Cahill in every training session, even beginning to ask the question of his permanent place from the squad.
Instead Chelsea benefited. Zouma’s presence got the best out of Cahill. The Englishman turned in some stellar performances in the second half of last season. Competition for places in the team got the best out of each player last season. No player could afford to rest, because they’d easily be replaced with quality.
The same cannot be said for this year’s squad. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Several members of Chelsea’s squad are irreplaceable. Which is dangerous. If you’re not replaceable, then you immediately become a liability. Your health and form must remain perfect, or else the overall team will suffer. And Chelsea are feeling that right now, with nowhere near enough sufficient options on the bench.
The Blues have no backup right back. Moving Azpilicueta is a dangerous proposition, begging the question is Baba Rahman ready to start in the Premier League? Whether or not Mourinho feels he’s ready, it still comes with inherent risk. Especially given Azpilicueta’s success.
Ivanovic has been poor this season, but without a right back to replace him, who can Mourinho turn to? This forces him to continue to play the Serbian, despite obvious signs of struggling.
The same can be said for John Terry. While Cahill is a good defender, he benefitted from playing next to John Terry during the last two years. With Terry out, Cahill isn’t at his best. Zouma has been strong thus far, but he’s still a raw talent and cannot be solely trusted with the defensive burden.
Moving higher up the pitch, Fabregas is in the same situation. He has struggled thus far into the season. And it’s shown the through Chelsea’s frail attack, lacking creativity and the ability to break down teams. However, with no replacements but Ramires who isn’t creative, and Mikel who is even less creative, where can Mourinho turn?
Chelsea needed to sign another defender or two, and a deep lying midfielder. Say perhaps, Pogba and Stones. However, they’ve seemingly failed in their pursuits and it’s truly cost them. Without a backup deep lying playmaker, their forced to ride Fabregas’s slump, regardless of how long it lasts. And by not signing a defender, they remain thin at the back.
Many people have said that this is the same team that Mourinho won the Premier League with a season ago. But if you take a closer look, it’s not fully true.
First and foremost, Chelsea have been in steady decline since the second half of last season. They resorted to defensive tactics, and they were not the same team that begun the campaign.
Furthermore, they no longer have Filipe Luis, which limits their options at the back. John Terry is also another year older and it’s showing thus far. Fabregas seems to be suffering from his slump that he was in during the latter stages of last year’s campaign.
So is it really fair to say that this is the team that won the Premier League during last campaign? I don’t think so.
Regardless, the bottom line is that Chelsea are simply not good enough to compete in all four competitions with the current squad that they have. If Chelsea are unable to sign some depth, they will struggle this campaign. It’s as simple as that.