Twelve games into the Premier League season and already Chelsea appear to be running away with the title. Jose Mourinho’s side is functioning like a well-oiled machine and with all departments covered, the Blues hardly have any weaknesses that are visible.
It’s easy to see why the Stamford Bridge outfit have done so well, Cesc Fabregas laying off balls to Diego Costa, Serbian Nemanja Matic being a rock in front of the back four and Thibaut Courtois’ outstanding goalkeeping. Having said that though, it’s tough to go a season unbeaten. Comparisons over the Invincibles of Arsenal from the early 2000’s are apparent but in the interest of balance, we bring you three things that could hamper Chelsea as the season progresses.
Over-reliance on Diego Costa: With 11 goals from 14 appearances this season, Diego Costa is arguably the best summer signing even for £32m. The Brazil-born Spaniard is currently on £150,000 a week at Stamford Bridge and despite banging in goals ever week, it’s his fitness that would be crucial to Chelsea’s chances of winning silverware this season. Atletico Madrid took a gamble over his fitness in last season’s Champions League final but he has never quite fully recovered. Chelsea have good backups in Didier Drogba and Loic Remy but Costa gives Chelsea an edge with his direct running and coming deep to aid play and making space for his team mates. The Blues should pray that their main man remains fit throughout the season and going into the busy Christmas period, Costa is one slight injury away from disaster, God forbid.
Lack of Midfield structure: It’s Chelsea’s midfield which is arguably their strongest strength but it can be their Achilles heel too. Cesc Fabregas has been the main man playing in the number ten role just off Diego Costa but he too can be nullified like how Marouane Fellaini and Jordan Henderson showed during Chelsea’s encounters with Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. Moreover, Mourinho prefers Oscar, Hazard and Willian as his triumvirate, all of the three having an immense work rate and can take enough care to drop back and sort out the defense. However, this means that there is a lack of a defensive structure in the side. Moreover, with not much of a fast defense, Chelsea could struggle if Fabregas’ assists start to dry up.
Fixture Congestion: Well, let’s face it – Mourinho wants to win almost every tournament that he enters. The Blues are already well placed to reach the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup and will then face a two-legged semi-final in late January. With other sides like Manchester City picking up form, Mourinho would least like these distractions with games in midweek. Moreover, City aren’t also expected to go a long way in the Champions League and with Chelsea getting farther, fatigue can set in. Mourinho has more or less fielded his same starting eleven every match, thus he would be better off rotating his squad.
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Edited By: Girish Bhangre