It’s the day before Halloween and while the kids in the neighborhood are dressed up as their favorite super heroes or movie characters I’m wondering what Chelsea F.C. will be dressed as? Will they continue to be the mind scratching goalless blundering side of the 2015-2016 season or will they finally regain their form and begin to resemble a shade of their dominance from last year’s Championship season? Unfortunately I’m beginning to lose hope on this season. Each passing game has gotten me more and more depressed about their future outlook. Before each game last season I was 99% confident that Chelsea would win any game against any opponent. This year I’m 80% confident a loss will be coming down the pike.
Not much has changed over the course of five months but somehow everything has changed. Chelsea are no longer scoring goals, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are down significantly and nearly irrelevant. The only bright spot on offense has been Willian and his amazing free kicks. The signing of Pedro looked like the spark they needed but after one solid game he’s fallen back with the rest of the group. Their defensive back-line is no longer sturdy and stable and rather quite shaky especially the often abused Branislav Ivanovic. The midfield who once controlled the game is now a revolving door of mediocre performances. Nemanja Matic who looked to be the best holding midfielder in the Premier League is now being subbed out of games in which he has been a substitute for someone else. Cesc Fabregas’ performances are down greatly and his assist totals are a fraction of the prior year. I can’t even tell you what is going on with Oscar because he’s barely seen the field.
So that brings us to a Halloween match-up against Liverpool at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. The Blues have absolutely everything riding on this game. At the moment they’re sitting in 15th place with a record of 3 wins, 2 draws and 5 losses. Their title chances are out the window but the future of Jose Mourinho might hinge on this game. I’m not saying if Chelsea loses he will be sacked but if somehow Chelsea is embarrassed and loses yet again at home this could spell the end of the “Special One’s” time in West London.
Annually there are six fixtures against three teams that Chelsea fans circle on their calendar: Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool. More recently you can say Manchester City but those three are long time rivals with a history and hatred for one another. Losing to Liverpool cannot happen, it’s not an option. There is too much recent history there. From the transfer of Fernando Torres to Suarez/Ivanovic bite to the Gerrard slip to the Diego Costa stomp, these two teams have battled the past five years. Liverpool has a new boss in charge, Jurgen Klopp, and a new aggressive style of play. We’ve yet to see the best of Liverpool after only two games but the momentum could be building.
Everything that I feared would happen, did happen. Chelsea were completely dominated in a game where I’m left just stunned and speechless. Chelsea took a lead after just four minutes when Cesar Azpilicueta connected with Ramires on a cross and header in the center of the box. The Blues had an opportunity to double that lead but John Mikel Obi couldn’t finish a relatively easy attempt. After that moment Jose Mourinho decided to change the teams tactics and went on the defensive. They allowed Liverpool to hold possession and gain momentum while Chelsea looked to counter attack. It was a move that would not pay off.
Chelsea held Liverpool at bay for the majority of the first half but in stoppage time Philippe Coutinho made a brilliant fake shot and pull back move to shake off Ramires and he nailed a left footed curler past a diving Amir Begovic to even the score. It was the goal that sparked Liverpool in the second half and one that deflated the home fans giving me a feeling of “not again…” It would be Coutinho would who give Liverpool the lead after another quality finish in the box in the 74th minute. To seal the victory Christian Benteke added a goal 10 minutes later as the Chelsea crowd headed towards the exits. Kudos to Jurgen Klopp and his side who played disciplined defense and opportunistic on offense. They played within their capabilities and never panicked even when they trailed in the opening moments of the game.
Chelsea lose again, they lose at home and they look bad in the process. I would not be surprised at all if this marks the end of Jose Mourinho’s reign as Chelsea manager. To open the season Chelsea have lost 6 of their first 11 matches, the worst opening to a title defense in Premier League history. I’m not saying that I want Mourinho sacked, I want him to stay and I still have confidence that there could be some special moments left in this season. A league title is out of the picture, so is a domestic cup title and quite frankly only a miracle from God himself would get Chelsea to win the Champions League. The rest of this season needs to be about who will stay and who will go. The winter transfer window will be crucial and if someone is not in the team’s plan then maybe it’s time for them to go…Oscar, Hazard, whomever. Rebuilding needs to begin today.