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Are Chelsea Heading for Another Crisis?

01 February 2019 | Premier League | Opinion
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Are Chelsea Heading for Another Crisis?
CosminIftode / Shutterstock.com

The mid-week Premier League results did not make good reading for Chelsea fans.  Having lost 2-0 at Arsenal in their previous league games, the Blues were expected to produce a much better performance in the away trip to Bournemouth.

The game was 0-0 at half-time and Chelsea had already hit the woodwork.  However, nobody could have predicted what was to come in the second 45 minutes and Bournemouth ran riot as they defeated Chelsea 4-0.

The result and a win for Arsenal over Cardiff City saw Chelsea drop outside the top four in the Premier League. With Manchester United catching up in 6th place, there is a real danger Chelsea could finish in 6th place this season.

They have the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup still to play for and have already reached the final of the latter.  Even if they win the League Cup and the FA Cup this season, failure to finish inside the top four will be a huge disappointment.

This is Maurizio Sarri’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge and things seemed to be going well.  His key signing, Jorginho was playing well in the deep lying midfield position and was controlling matches for Chelsea but things have changed in recent weeks.

Teams have realised Chelsea are playing their game through Jorginho and have been employing players to hassle the Italian international whenever he gets the ball.  This has lessened the influence Jorginho can have on matches and his and Chelsea’s performance levels have dropped.

Despite having the best holding midfield player in the Premier League at their disposal in N’Golo Kante, Sarri seems adamant he will not change his system or personnel. Kante received the ball in the Bournemouth penalty area on Wednesday night but failed to bring it under control while in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper.

That situation was crying out for a player who knows how to play in forward positions and take chances when they come along.  That player is not Kante and it is clear his talent is being wasted by playing further forward in midfield.

There are also questions marks over the suitability of Gonzalo Higuain, David Luiz’s ability to play in a back four, the continuation of starting Mateo Kovacic only to withdraw him for Ross Barkley in the second half and the recent dropping of Marcos Alonso.

However, perhaps the most startling thing to come out of the Chelsea camp has been the admission that maybe Sarri cannot motivate his players.  We have seen Chelsea down tools before so this does not come as a surprise but to come out and actually say is a sign of weakness for the manger in the dressing room.

If Sarri cannot motivate the players to play in the style he would like, what future does he have at the club?  Sarri kept his players in the dressing room for more than 40 minutes after the Bournemouth game, saying he wanted to “talk to them alone, without anybody”.

It remains to be seen if this has a positive impact but when manager’s begin to call out their players out in public, it does not tend to end well.  Just ask Jose Mourinho.

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Premier League
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Liverpool 99 38 32 3 3 85 33 52
2. Manchester City 81 38 26 3 9 102 35 67
3. Manchester United 66 38 18 12 8 66 36 30
4. Chelsea 66 38 20 6 12 69 54 15
5. Leicester City 62 38 18 8 12 67 41 26
6. Tottenham 59 38 16 11 11 61 47 14
7. Wolverhampton 59 38 15 14 9 51 40 11
8. Arsenal 56 38 14 14 10 56 48 8
9. Sheffield United 54 38 14 12 12 39 39 0
10. Burnley 54 38 15 9 14 43 50 -7
11. Southampton 52 38 15 7 16 51 60 -9
12. Everton 49 38 13 10 15 44 56 -12
13. Newcastle United 44 38 11 11 16 38 58 -20
14. Crystal Palace 43 38 11 10 17 31 50 -19
15. Brighton 41 38 9 14 15 39 54 -15
16. West Ham 39 38 10 9 19 49 62 -13
17. Aston Villa 35 38 9 8 21 41 67 -26
18. Bournemouth 34 38 9 7 22 40 65 -25
19. Watford 34 38 8 10 20 36 64 -28
20. Norwich City 21 38 5 6 27 26 75 -49

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