The 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park was Chelsea’s 7th loss of the season in the Premier League. This was their chance to go above Manchester United and Arsenal on the table, having had one game in hand on both the teams. Even though there are 8 more matches to be played chances of finishing in the top 4 seem bleak. Chelsea has become a team that can keep the ball but cannot do much with it. The system has now become boring and fans demand results.
Back in 2015, in Mourinho’s last tenure fans were angry and shocked looking at how the team was performing. In 2017 the fans were just disappointed and were confused as to how the defending champions were performing so badly. But now losses don’t seem to surprise the fans at all. They just want to get past this poor season and hope for a fresh start. There are multiple reasons which make this season the most forgettable one for the fans.
- Absence of Abramovich in London
Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and it didn’t take time for him to make a massive impact on both, the club and the league. He flushed in money helping Chelsea to buy world class players. He is also to be credited for the decisions he took while hiring managers such as Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, and Antonio Conte. Under his ownership the club has won 5 league titles, 5 FA cup titles, 2 community shields, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League. He has always pressed his managers to perform well and when they failed to give results, he has not thought twice before replacing them.
But his current visa issues have caused a massive reduction in his involvement with the club. A regular face in every match, Abramovich is forced out of his own fortress. He’s had to put a hold on the new stadium as well. Chelsea surely is missing his authoritative figure.
- Directors lack genuine football pedigree
Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenenbaum, the directors at Chelsea, have been with Abramovich since 2003. Both used to work for him before he took over the club. Granovskaia, one of the strongest women in football, is responsible for the Nike sponsorship deal. Even though they have been in the club for a long time, there’s no secret that both of them have no connection with football whatsoever. They are Chelsea’s key transfer negotiators and have often been criticized by the managers for not buying players they had asked for. They may know what’s best for business, but fail to understand what’s best for the club’s performance.
- Predictable nature of Sarri Ball
Maurizio Sarri did wonders in his time at Napoli. He replaced fellow Italian manager Antonio Conte in the summer of 2018. Sarri completely changed the style of play and brought an effective change in the system, going unbeaten for 12 games in the league. But the other teams cracked down his tactics. Sarri has since looked out of his depth. We see the same old routine and the same substitutions have irritated the fans. Sarri has been quite rigid and has time and again blamed the players rather than changing the system. Blocking Jorginho seems like the only thing oppositions need to do in order to defeat Chelsea.
- The absence of a leader in the dressing room
Nobody in the dressing room seems to have taken up the responsibility for the team’s poor run in the Premier League. Cesar Azpillicueta took over the armband from Cahil after Sarri’s arrival. The Spaniard has never looked like he has been in control of things. He is not vocal enough and lacks the traits of a good leader. Gary Cahill has sidelined himself after being denied a regular start in the league and might soon leave the club as well. Chelsea needs someone to lead from the front, motivate the team and push them when they are down. A positive change in the leadership role is certainly required.
- Madrid-bound star player
Eden Hazard looks like he is in the form of his life. Despite the team’s poor performance, Hazard has managed to shine and with 13 goals and 11 assists is arguably the best player in the Premier League this season.
He also has been open about his dream to play for Spanish giants Real Madrid, and with Zidane, back in charge, the dream is likely to be fulfilled this summer.
- Wasted Youth
Chelsea has always been criticized for not giving proper opportunities to their academy players. This season has been no different. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruban Loftus Cheek and Ethan Ampadu are just a few names of many who have impressed the masses but have not been given enough game time. Bayern has come knocking on the door for Hudson-Odoi multiple times, but Sarri still doesn’t get the clue. The 18-year-old made it through to the English national team despite having played little domestic football. Chelsea already regrets losing the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Mohamed Salah due to less play time given. It won’t be long enough before they regret not playing their current young stars as well.