It is a clichéd saying that defending the Premier League title is always more difficult than winning it for the first time. You are the team to beat for everyone else and are therefore not likely to get any freebies whatsoever. The players must come back stronger, tougher and more motivated than the year before, or else the title can get away really quickly.
This is exactly what the story has been for Chelsea Football Club this season, as an abysmal start sees in 13th position after 4 games. Last year, we had it too easy, leading the way throughout and not even needing to be at our best in the second half of the season. Now, it has all changed, with Manchester City playing with a renewed sense of optimism and threatening to run away with the league like we did in the 2014/15 campaign.
The big names have gone missing
It is quite apparent that some of the players in the squad are not performing to the best of their capabilities. But what is discouraging to see is the lack of fight and character some of the senior names have shown. In the last game, especially against Crystal Palace at home, we needed our big names to stand up and be counted. The likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic hardly got a kick in the second half when we were trailing, and the visitors were full value for their win.
Hell, our 19-year-old youngster Kenedy did more in 22 minutes (playing out-of-position at left-back) than Hazard in the entire 90 minutes. The lack of motivation was clearly plain to see.
It almost seems like some of these players are content with last season’s title win and haven’t got going this year at all. Fabregas has looked absolutely knackered in all the games thus far, something you would certainly not expect at the start of the season when the players are fresh from a two-month break anyway. In 2015, he has only managed 3 assists thus far, a far cry from the 15 he gave last year.
His midfield partner Matic, arguably the best defensive midfielder in the league last season, has been ineffective as well. His commanding presence has been lacking, and the tackling and intercepting that we had got used to seeing from him have gone missing as well.
The less said about Branislav Ivanovic, the better. I have already analysed in detail how much of a liability he has become, and Abdul Baba Rahman will surely replace him sooner rather than later.
Diego Costa has been extremely frustrating to watch, seeming more interested in arguing with the referees than trying to score goals. He needs to get his act together soon, or we must look at the option of Radamel Falcao, who has been much more encouraging.
Another player I would like to mention is Hazard. The Belgian, for all his trickery and skills, just can’t seem to score goals. He had golden opportunities to equalise in the Community Shield against Arsenal and the league game against Manchester City but fluffed his lines. Unless he starts putting these chances, he is never going to be reckoned with the best in the world. Moreover, we will continue to drop points.
What is the solution?
Mourinho will not care too much for reputation if he is going to drop someone, and that was proved in the last game when he brought on Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Nemanja Matic. It will be interesting to see if any such big changes are made from the start in the next game.
The most important thing to be noted is that we are still a fantastic side, and can beat anyone in the world if everyone plays as well as they should. The complacency and lack of desire need to be brought back, and the performances and victories will follow suit.
This is where a manager earns his money. It is a tough challenge to keep the youngsters in the team motivated, but an even bigger one to do it with the senior players.
All the players mentioned above barring Ivanovic are below the age of 30, but there is no doubt that they are the veterans in the dressing room now, even though it’s only been a year for the likes of Fabregas and Costa. They are the sources of inspiration for others, the ones to whom the younger members of the squad look up to remain upbeat.
The international break has come at the right time for us, for a change. When we take to the field against Everton at Goodison Park on the 12th of September, let’s hope things are different.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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