How Chelsea's title bid has been derailed so badly
Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea
On 3rd February 2014, Chelsea silenced their critics and produced one of their finest displays of the season to inflict City’s first home league defeat of the season. Chelsea were in the driving seat for the Premier League title, and followed up that performance with a 3-0 win over Newcastle, that coupled with results elsewhere, propelled them of the top of the table.
But there was where it all began to go wrong for Chelsea. A draw against West Brom, 2 consecutive away losses to relegation candidates and Chelsea’s title bid was faltering. The title is now out of our hands, in theory at least, but why has Chelsea’s promising season just a month ago come crashing back down to earth?
Well, most obviously would be the lack of consistency in the Chelsea team. Only Petr Cech and John Terry can claim to be consistent throughout this league campaign, but the latter has recently succumbed to several costly mistakes at Crystal Palace and against Galatasaray. While Eden Hazard’s attacking briliance is undeniable, his inability to perform and when all seems lost marks the difference between him and the world’s best players. When on song, he can produce performances matching or even bettering that of Lionel Messi, but when the team needs him against weaker opposition, he is not always able to produce that kind of magic. This has seriously damaged our title charge, and a 6-0 demolition of Arsenal being sandwiched between two 1-0 defeats away to relegation threatened Aston VIlla and Crystal Palace truly encompasses our season: Brilliant at times, but frustrating nonetheless.
Amassing 44 points from a possible point haul of 48 represents the best home form for any Premier League side in 2013/2014 season. But our away form has been horrendous, ranking 6th among all the teams in terms of points won on the road. This points return has been the main reason for our disappearing title hopes, and to make matters worse, these defeats have come at Britannia Stadium, Goodison Park, Selhurst Park, Villa Park and St. James Park, all of which were unexpected.
While it is unjust to place all the blame on our misfiring strikers, Samuel Eto summarizes how our strikers have been this season. Despite his increasingly dominant performances for Chelsea prior to his injury, he is so inconsistent away from home that all his goals this season have come at the Bridge (Yes, you read that right. In the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup, Eto has not scored away from the Bridge). This increasingly frustrating statistic is a main reason for our desperately poor performances away from home.
So how do we salvage our once promising season that now looks like its destined to end without silverware. The Special One definitely has his own plan, but this is what I think we must do to stand any chance of winning a trophy:
Anything but all 3 points at Anfield would ensure that the Premier League trophy either ends up at the Etihad or Anfield, barring any catastrophic collapse from both sides. Liverpool will have their motivations to win that match, espeically since they have a 20 year wait for the trophy, and playing at the Anfield has always been a daunting task. But if our performance against Arsenal is anything to go by, this crop of players play best under pressure, and that is definitely what the atmosphere at Anfield will be like.
Don’t be over confident
None of our league defeats this season have been expected, with all except 1 coming against the bottom 11 in the league. This side has suffered brutally from complacency creeping into the field, and their lacklustre performance against Crystal Palace surely encapsulated an over confident team that was brought back down ot earth after a morale boosting win over Arsenal. The last thing we need is for us to have any more slip ups, and complacency is definitely the biggest enemy considering how simple our task is on paper.
Focus on the Champions League
While our most “realistic” chance of silverware may still be the Premier Leauge, considering the calibre of our opponents, the Champions League provides a ripe opportunity for us to win silverware this season. Mou is yet to taste success in Europe with his Chelsea teams, and performances this season have definitely suggested that he has instilled a big game mentality in his players. Chelsea also have an impeccable record playing in the continent, bringing home 2 trophies from 2 consecutive finals. Playing against high-flying teams do not daunt this pack of players and the Champions League, while seemingly a more lofty and unattainable trophy than the Premier League, may just prove to be Chelsea’s sole source of silverware this season.
Well, thats the end of my article. Hope you enjoyed it. #ktbffh