Chelsea’s Champions League defeat to FC Porto represented another disappointing outing for the Blues and their fans. During this campaign, Mourinho’s men have been on the end of some disheartening results, especially given the high hopes that many had for this season. Last year, Chelsea coasted to the Premier League title, finding little struggle along the way. However, this campaign is a whole new beast entirely.
The West Londoners fell 2-1 in Portugal, allowing the home side to get the better of Chelsea during Mourinho’s homecoming. Coupling this defeat with Saturday’s poor performance against Newcastle, the Blues have a lot of adjustments to make in order to get their season on track. Most of these changes are attitude and performance based. It’s obvious to see certain players are not up to par and must improve their form.
While Mourinho claimed that there are no untouchables in the team, that is not exactly accurate. Chelsea will not drop Hazard, Fabregas, Costa, or Pedro for long term stints. That’s just not going to happen. That being said these four players must improve their output and contribution to the side. However, there is one glaring tactical change that need to be made by the manager that will give Chelsea a better chance to compete.
Jose Mourinho must drop Branislav Ivanovic from the side. He has to. I don’t know what else the Serbian can do to prove that he is not up to scratch this season. He has been poor in every essence of the game. He is by far Chelsea’s worst defender this campaign. He gets beaten with ease, and opposing teams are beginning to target him.
Ivanovic hasn’t even been able to add anything getting forward which was supposed to be his “special” talent. Last season we sacrificied some defense, knowing that the Serbian was essentially playing as a winger. However, he has failed to contribute both offensively and defensively.
This leaves Mourinho with two options. First and probably the more likely and rational of the two. Give Baba Rahman his shot. Granted he is young and untested. But he came at an expensive price tag, and he can’t be much worse than Ivanovic. Moving Azpilicueta to the right will allow the Spaniard to get forward more effectively, and will finally provide Chelsea with a natural left back. This will allow more of a threat from the left side and may even benefit Eden Hazard, giving him more options on the flank.
The Ghanian has looked good in his few appearances, even considering the relative weakness of his their opponents. It’s time to give him a shot. It’s Chelsea’s best chance for consistency and maybe even help them get their attack flowing.
Another option is to play Zouma at right back and reinstate Terry back in the team. Zouma has the pace to play outside back and has done so effectively in the past. He can help to solidify Chelsea’s defense, while also allowing Terry a place back in the team. Terry will help manage the defense and Cahill and Zouma can handle the more pacy attackers. This is definitely an option Mourinho can consider if he feels the Baba Rahman isn’t ready for consistent action against quality opponents.
Either way, Ivanovic must be dropped. They can’t afford to continue to allow other teams to target such an obvious weakness and make no changes to circumvent this issue. Mourinho claimed that he has no untouchables, and if this is true, Ivanovic can be no exception, and if anyone is deserving of being dropped, it’s the Serbian.