It has been an unbelievable season so far, with every week throwing up at least a couple of extraordinary stories for us to relish. The meteoric rise of Leicester City and the incredible form of West Ham United, especially against the big sides, under new manager Slavan Bilic are just two examples of how unpredictable the Premier League has been this season.
The most shocking tale of them all has to be that of Chelsea. The Blues cantered to the title last season, leading the pack all the way through from Gameweek 3. With a serial winner in Jose Mourinho at the helm, surely they were set for a prolonged period of dominance, right?
Wrong. Chelsea this season have resembled, let alone defending champions, a team battling against relegation. Their superstars have all been mediocre and they have already lost more matches in 8 games than they did in the whole of the last campaign. It is a great testament to the other so-called ‘smaller’ teams as well, who have sensed the Blues’ weaknesses and set to up to win matches even at Stamford Bridge.
A revival has been on the cards for weeks now, with fans and foes alike waiting for Chelsea to hit out like a wounded animal. But with each passing game, they are hitting new lows.
Can they still win the league?
There has been so much disappointment already and it surely can’t go on forever for a squad laden with talent and experience. It may come down to just one match, or maybe even one moment, that turns Chelsea’s season around. An inspired Eden Hazard performance, a last-minute winner, a thumping victory against a good team – any of these instances would completely alter the mood and confidence levels in the dressing room.
It is hardly surprising that according to the latest Premier League 2015/2016 title odds, the Blues’ chances of retaining their crown have taken a big tumble, even though we are only a fifth of the season through. Manchester City are the favourites, followed by Arsenal and Man United.
No signs of change
Had Chelsea been playing really well and yet failing to win matches, we would be sitting here and confidently saying that it’s just a matter of time before things start to go their way. But, their performances have been as dismal as their results. The likes of Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and John Terry were cornerstones of their side’s success last year, but have been all gone missing this time around. These individuals have looked tired, listless, complacent and uninspired to go out and do their shifts.
Some of the decisions taken by Mourinho haven’t helped either. His adamance to continue playing the completely out-of-form Branislav Ivanovic is just one of the things that have baffled one and all. Earlier this week on my column for Soccerlens, I asked five questions which the manager must find answers to before the next game.
The club went public with their backing of the Portuguese and his players despite the poor form with this statement on the official website, but we all know how fast Roman Abramovich’s patience can run out.
It is therefore difficult to see where the inspiration is going to come from. City, Arsenal and United haven’t been at their best either and despite being in 16th place, Chelsea are only 10 points off the top. An extended run of wins will certainly bridge that gap in no time, but that streak needs to start right now.
In conclusion, it can be said that the door to the title race is still slightly ajar for Mourinho’s men, with the other contenders slipping up on a regular basis. But if their current form continues, it won’t take too long for it slam shut. It is clear that change is needed with regards to both the personnel and the mindsight. From Chelsea’s point-of-view, the sooner it happens, the better.