Thirty six days ago Chelsea were cruising. We had just beaten Tottenham at White Hart Lane and were hailed, by many pundits, as the most stylish team in the league. What on earth has happened?
Against West Ham, we were pedestrian, lacked leadership and simply ran out of ideas. I am not a fan of the goalkeeper being the captain. Cech cannot influence the team from his position. West Ham had Nolan and Noble applauding every tackle and driving their team forward, urging more from every player. We had Mikel moaning constantly to the referee whilst being overrun by an average West Ham midfield.
The biggest disappointment is the slow, predictable build up. Torres is having an absolute nightmare and is clearly lacking pace and confidence. Hazard looks tired and, at times, uninterested. Moses huffed and puffed but lacked the final ball. Mikel, once again, is taking too many touches and slows the tempo. The only two players who looked decent were the Spanish pair of Mata and the impressive Azpilicuerta.
How do we get out of this hole? Against West Ham the gap between the front four and the two holding players was exposed time and time again. Surely we need to address that situation. I would start with a back four of Azpilicuerta, Ivanovic, Cahill/Terry and Cole. David Luiz holding behind Lampard and Ramires with a front three of Hazard/Oscar, Mata and Torres/ Sturridge. This formation will allow Lampard and Ramires to control the crucial middle of the field with Luiz sweeping behind them, it will allow us to press higher up the pitch and control games higher up the pitch. Its not rocket science!
Benitez must get this team winning again and quickly. After the Man City game I looked at our fixtures and honestly felt we could win the next six or seven on the spin. I am now worried where the next win will come from. Make the change Benitez, be bold and drop the second holding player!