Once again, Chelsea laid an egg against a top of the table team as it was outplayed, outrun and outclassed by an overwhelmingly better Leicester City side. Although the score line was just 2-0, the result was demoralizing. It’s well documented that the vaunted 17-game unbeaten streak may be an illusion since they’d beaten no clubs in the top half of the Premier League table; that evaluation was on target. The clock is clearly ticking on this team as it continues its inability to beat any team of consequence on its way to a Europe-free football season in 2021/22. The way they’re playing, the Blues are incapable of not just beating but even competing against a strong side.
Here are three key reasons why things just aren’t clicking for Chelsea:
1. There is no clear attacking plan in place
This is coaching, folks. The club just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do and if it does, it certainly doesn’t seem capable of doing it. The Blues’ attack is almost non-existent; from start to finish of any game against a top opponent, they can’t even get a sniff of the goal. If they do manage to get close, they can’t muster up a shot on goal.
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Tammy Abraham did nothing on the day either. The forwards, other than luckless Christian Pulisic—who almost gained a penalty—did little. VAR didn’t help by overturning Pulisic’s penalty or Timo Werner’s “offside” goal either. When Callum Hudson-Odoi actually had a chance, he hit the side of the net, electing to go short-side rather than across the goal. A terrible execution of a decent chance. All-in-all, this team is clueless in attack at the moment.
2. The Blues are being outpaced
Chelsea players seem to be running in cement. Every team the Blues come up against runs them out of the building, which has been the case since the Leeds United match. The pacy players—like Ben Chilwell and Pulisic—look like they’ve slowed significantly. The non-pacy players, like Kai Havertz and Reece James, look like they’re running with cinderblocks for boots. Further, the slow players, well, they’re still sluggish.
The reason for this is what? Maybe they are tired from lots of games in a short space of time. Unfortunately, the schedule is what it is and the manager has to rotate his squad accordingly. Maybe they just don’t have the requisite desire to beat the opponent to a ball, make a tackle without fouling, or otherwise outrun and outplay the opponent. Whatever the reasons, they are just too slow.
3. Poor team selection
Mount was the club’s best attacker in the eked out a win against Fulham. This being said, why was he playing essentially a defensive midfield role against Leicester? That was absolutely obtuse—and that’s a bad management decision. Where was Billy Gilmour? The young Scot brings energy and enthusiasm to this zombified squad, so where was he at the King Power? Nowhere to be seen. Gilmour, maybe more than anyone else, has the ability to get this team off its collective backsides and into the game. Yet, he’s not on the pitch. Edouard Mendy has reverted to being himself, a good—but not outstanding—keeper. It is painfully clear.
This season is beginning to be reminiscent of the final years of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho as Chelsea managers. Conte was sacked after the 2017/18 season after finishing fifth and winning the FA Cup. Mourinho, in his last stint at Chelsea, was sacked during the 2015/16 season after losing nine of 16 Premiership matches. After that sacking, the club—under Guus Hiddink—finished a miserable 10th in the table.
Frankly, that’s the way things seem to be shaping up for the Blues this season. Forget about the top four, forget about Europe at all. If they don’t turn things around quickly, get ready for a possible shake-up as things just don’t seem to be clicking in SW6 now.
We may all be saying, “here we go again” shortly. I hope not, but it is what it is. Let’s hope it isn’t what it is now for too much longer though—it’s painful to watch.