Chelsea, the all-conquering team who won the Champions League have won just 1 of their last 6 games. The defence that arguably won them the champions league has now stricken with gigantic holes in them. They find themselves in 3rd place with 38 points, 6 less than the leaders City. They have the same set of players and the same managers so what has changed in the last month that has brought such adversity to Chelsea? Well, there is more than one reason, let’s look at them.
The biggest issue beating down Chelsea is COVID. So far Chilwell, Werner, Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi have been confirmed to have contacted COVID. There are other causes as well but they have not been revealed. The team is so depleted that players have to play out of position. Just in the last game, Chalobah a CB had to play in the midfield. The attacking trio of Havertz, Lukaku and Werner has been sidelined due to injury or COVID which has made life very difficult for Chelsea. Against teams who sit deep, they have found a vast lack of creativity and attacking prowess.
10 of Chelsea’s starters are out due to either covid of injury which has made life very very difficult for the London club. Although they have a great squad depth, they have not been able to cope with the intensity of the Premier League. In order to fill huge voids left by the ousted players, Tuchel has promoted some of the young academy players to the first team, but it is yet to be seen what kind of impact do these kids have on the game.
❌ Ben Chilwell— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) December 19, 2021
❌ Andreas Christensen
❓ Trevoh Chalobah
❌ Kai Havertz
❌ Ruben Loftus-Cheek
❓ Hakim Ziyech
❌ Callum Hudson-Odoi
❌ Timo Werner
❌ Romelu Lukaku
A building headache for Thomas Tuchel and #Chelsea… 😳 pic.twitter.com/TqbMCUD5kA
Winning the Champions League requires a great deal of determination and motivation. The motivation, which is often very fleeting, seems like has left Chelsea’s players as well. You see, professional sports is a very high intense job. A sportsperson has to always be at their best to survive in their position or else they are replaced. To win trophies these individuals have to operate at even higher standards which is not possible to maintain for a long time. This is why winning back to back trophies is the hardest challenge in football. There are only a couple of teams who have managed to win the Champions League back to back. Whenever a team wins the Champions League, their next season plays out worse than expected.
It is this complacency or lack of intensity that causes teams to falter after a trophy-winning season and that seems to be the case with Chelsea as well. Their defence has been very poor in the last couple of matches which cannot be excused as a result of worsened attacking power. Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta and Mendy are still fit but they have not been able to match last year’s form.
Lack of a proper dribbler/ playmaker
Eden Hazard, a player who could hold the game by the scruff of the neck and win it on his own has been a great miss by this Chelsea team. A player who can run with the ball, get past challenges and shoot is the staple of modern-day football. Players like Modric, Messi, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Neymar, Kroos etc are what every team needs in order to win. A player of that ilk seems to be missing from this Chelsea team. When everything goes to plan, this Chelsea team look like world beaters but when faced with a stubborn defence they just look out of ideas, almost ordinary.
Kante is good with the ball but his passing and shooting are still not up to Hazard or De Bruyne standards. Mount is a great runner and shooter but lacks creativity, Jorginho is just too slow for a modern-day footballer. Kovacic although among the very best while dribbling cannot shoot and Ziyech takes too much time on the ball. All of the players when tasked with breaking a stubborn defence, fail miserably.
Has Tuchel been found out?
In hindsight, it seems like Chelsea have a great squad and any new coach could bring the best out of it. The only things that are consistent at Chelsea after Abramovich’s takeover are trophies and an influx of new managers. Every new manager seems to do better than expected and then falter later on only to be fired and replaced by another manager and the cycle continues.
Tuchel was given a very simple task, to reach the top 4 and probably win a FA cup. He however over-delivered massively winning the biggest trophy there is. Now that expectations are higher, no wonder the wheels are coming off. Tommy tactics seem to have been figured out by every other manager in the league. Blocking the wide areas and hitting on the counter seems to be working really well for Chelsea’s opponents at the moment.
If Chelsea are to surmount any kind of title challenge, they would have to regroup and tweak their strategy going forward.