I was tempted just to pull out last week’s piece and resubmit it given the fact that we saw the same defensive errors, the same blunt strike force, the same lack of movement, the same lacklustre performance. I’m even bored of writing about it.
The draw papered over very significant cracks and although a draw is psychologically better that a loss every other week, the points gained over similar games under Hiddink and Mourinho is almost identical. The only difference between the game against West Ham as opposed to Everton, is that we chose to put in 15 minutes of effort against the Hammers, where as we barely broke a sweat at Goodison.
You could reasonably debate that perhaps the players, just like the fans want shot of this season, have written it off and are simply going through the motions with a view to a fresh start in August. The point is that these players are paid, paid obscene amount of money to give 100% – they cannot decide to chuck the towel in – they owe the club, they owe the fans.
But character wise – with only a few exceptions, this lot are probably the worst we have ever seen at Stamford Bridge – not in terms of ability – but purely in terms of attitude.
Did we really reject £58 million for Oscar??? Really?? Has anyone actually checked that he has a left leg? After all, he seems to have made a career out of football whilst missing a heart, guts and a backbone. He could have actually potentially won us that game on Saturday by simply swinging his other leg. Is it really too much to ask that a professional footballer who earns enough money to pay off the national debt of small African country can kick with both his legs? Obviously it is.
Then there’s Courtois – gone from being rated the best goalkeeper in the world, pursued by the likes of Real Madrid and PSG – to a shadow of his former self. A keeper that half of the Stamford Bridge faithful do not fully trust to catch the most basic of balls. As well as the obvious frustration of letting Cech go, I’ve heard quite a few conversations stating that Bergovic would be preferred between the sticks. But who can blame Courtois for being a bit erratic given the woeful defence he has in front of him. I don’t think he trusts any of them to fully cover their areas and so its making him indecisive. What a mess.
Speaking of defence (very, very loosely) – Cahill. I had my doubts when we signed him, then a few months of playing alongside Terry we saw a marked improvement – but never really to the level that a top four club would need and expect. And when he doesn’t have Terry next to him (and sometimes even when he does) he looks amateurish at times. We as supporters have been used to a rock solid defence for so long now that this season seems an abomination.
What worries me is that Conte is allegedly saying that we only need a couple of players. We need more than a couple of players just for our defence!
The way we’re going it looks like we may even miss out on the Europa League – some see this as a blessing where as others feel this would be detrimental going forward – believing any sort of European football would be better than none. Obviously there is the financial element, but equally playing in Europe – the actual style of play – is very different to the Premiership – and do we want to be out of that for an entire season?
Then again the Europa by its very nature isn’t your elite – do we really want to be facing Eastern European goat-herders and bank clerks?
Personally I think a season away from European football altogether would be the way to go. It will really bring home to the players what they have done, it’ll give the new manager time with the team, time to assess them – I would say with no pressure but every Chelsea manager is under pressure, but at least without the additional pressure of European football. No more excuses of fatigue – more time for the new manager to drill his players so that they fully understand his methods etc. Even then, this may not be enough, there is so much more competition these days from clubs that five years ago were no more than also-rans – and that’s before you even consider the miracle makers like Leicester.
In many ways, this next manager will have the hardest job of any Chelsea manager that has gone before him. Huge expectations, a squad with a multitude of issues, a very expectant owner and a chasm to make up. Let’s all hope he’s up to the job.
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