The key word here is ‘early’. I am certainly far from panicking and I am far from losing my faith in Jose Mourinho and the Chelsea squad.
I do however have some real concerns, and these are concerns that I’ve had since about the mid way point last season. Let’s not beat around the bush here, Chelsea rode their luck to win the title last season and it was made much easier due to the fact that Manchester City bottled it at the latter end and there wasn’t any other main challengers.
Chelsea won so many games by defending in numbers and holding on to tight victories, making last ditch challenges and important goalkeeping saves. We got lucky, on another day we could have had goalkeeper errors or player mistakes where we would have lost out on vital points and not won the title. Of course we won the league deservedly though, our performances early on proved that and the discipline at the end. But we didn’t maintain that and many key players faded out.
Since that halfway point in the season, Cesc Fabregas has not been as outstanding as he was initially and neither has Diego Costa. These two were the vital additions and main difference to our team from the season before that and they made a huge impact, turning us in to genuine title contenders. But for whatever reason they both faded out slightly and unfortunately have started the same this season.
Am I concerned about that though? Not really, although Costa still has a lot to do to prove that he is the one to lead from the front, get our goals and be the main man, I think Fabregas will step up once again but will need to play more advanced as his defending is poor.
Costa is getting far too involved and angry with everything and everyone else, it’s having a real negative affect on many things. I am all for a striker who puts himself about and winds up defenders, but Costa is taking this way too far for me. He always looks so hard done by and angry, it’s not a good omen to have on the pitch. We need confidence and passion, not anger.
And then I look at the back line and like many others, simply cannot understand why we still keep playing Branislav Ivanoivc at right back. He’s a central defender, not a full back. He can still do a good job at our club, but he is wasting that right sided position and also giving a lot away. Team’s are now targeting that area against us with a quick winger, pinpointing it as our weak spot. And they are absolutely right.
It’s the same at left back, Cesar Azpilicueta is wasting that position, through no fault of his own. Naturally he is a right sided player, therefore he often wastes attacking opportunities by cutting in or not being strong enough to cross with his left foot. He needs to be playing right back.
The John Terry situation? He’s ONLY took him off for one reason, to get the board to go all out to sign another centre back i.e John Stones. It’s also a message to Stones, letting him see that he’s not afraid to drop his big players at the back in order to give him a chance. It’s predominantly a message to the board, asking for more funds to improve the squad.
Mourinho isn’t happy with our squad despite what he claims. Talking bad about the board will never end well, so he likes to make it seem that all is fine, but it really isn’t. He wants to improve and sign more players especially at the back but the board have so far been reluctant.
But in my opinion, although there is a problem at the back, we are still lacking some major creativity and clinical finishing in the attacking third. I think this is where we really need to be looking at.
Nemanja Matic needs someone who is more a box to box midfielder who can create and play as well as tackling and breaking up play. We need an all rounder in there as apposed to just the quality and vision of Fabregas.
Neither Ramires or John Obi Mikel are good enough to be in that position and both should be cashed in. Although having said that, I’d always keep Ramires in the squad due to his pace, energy and work rate. But he’s certainly a non starter for me.
Willian is also concerning me. There was a point during yesterday’s game that it really triggered for me, is Willian really good enough? It was on the 70th minute when we eventually had our first attempt on goal through Eden Hazard. We were counter attacking with Hazard driving forward, he had Costa on his left wanting the ball and Willian on the right who was totally free as well. He played in Costa, but if Willian powered in to the box, he would have been a better option, but he didn’t seem to even want to get in to the scoring position, he merely jogged in support of the attack and did not have the confidence to want the ball in a scoring area. If he kept going at pace, he could have drew another defender out, leaving more space for Hazard to get his shot away.
That is not the kind of players that we need. We need players with the confidence and swagger to want the ball and know they will do something with it.
Right now, a lot of emphasis in attack revolves around Eden Hazard. He is the only player who can make something out of nothing. We are lacking others who can step up, beat a player and create chances. Fabregas will always create chances with his vision, but needs to be advanced in order to get his full potential.
For me, this is a make or break season for Oscar. So far, like Willian, he hasn’t stepped up either. He lacks imagination going forward and often is the cause of quick and fluent counter attacks breaking up as he prefers to keep the ball rather than try something different. Similar to Willian in the sense.
For us to be title challengers again this season. I feel we need four more signings before the deadline, however unlikely that may seem. We need a young and quick central defender (Like John Stones). We need an creative flair attacker who can play across the three (Like Ross Barkley, Isco or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain), another striker who can play anywhere in attack, and a central midfielder who can be box to box and good in attack and defence (like Paul Pogba). Only then will we be equipped to be challengers once again.
We also need to ship out some deadwood like Juan Cuadrado, Mikel, Ramires and Loic Remy, in order to fund these deals.
But let’s not be too concerned, John Terry will still be key this season and probably once again be challenging for player of the season. Jose Mourinho will get it right once again, but only when the board realise we need to invest more in new players.
It’s early doors, no need to panic yet.
Follow my Twitter here for the latest Chelsea transfer news @cfcneteditor
Simon Phillips – News Editor – CFCnet