Twelve matches into Chelsea’s season, controversial management choices have seen the team make a good, if not quite great, start to their campaign. The announcement of José Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge was met with joy from supporters who, for varying reasons, never took to the managers who’ve tried to replace him since his first stint at the club.
It isn’t difficult to see why Mourinho is so beloved by the fans, having led his Chelsea team to the highest points total in Premiership history in the 2004/5 season. He is synonymous with the greatest period of success in the club’s history and brings a brand of stylish, attacking football with him to the title contenders. Thus far, Chelsea have looked among the favourites to win the league, as they were expected to be, though they haven’t looked to be the truly dominant side that the bookies were tipping them to be.
Defensive issues have cost Chelsea points on a number of occasions this season, most noticeably when playing David Luiz at centre back. Luiz has displayed a tendency to chase balls and stray from his position that have essentially handed chances to the opposition, a number of which have been taken.
The increased role for John Terry this season has been a welcome one and, with Gary Cahill now looking to be his regular partner in the starting line-up, Luiz seems to have been benched for the interim. With reports emerging this week that the Brazilian might be moving to Barcelona in January, Chelsea will likely be looking for a new centre back.
The lack of a standout striker is also hurting the team, and could be the determining factor in their ability to beat the other top contenders. A lengthy pursuit of Wayne Rooney was one of Mourinho’s main focuses over the summer and it’s hard to imagine just how different the league table might have looked if he had been successful.
Samuel Eto’o has produced on occasion for his new team, but at 32 he no longer looks like a player who can surge away from defences to score. The same goes for Fernando Torres, who has undoubtedly lost a step since his days at Liverpool and whose finishing has been notoriously unreliable after moving to Chelsea, though he’s improved this season. With Eto’o injured for a fortnight, he will be expected to start in his next few matches. Bookies seems to move Chelsea Premier League Betting Odds down due to lack of stability.
At the same time Fans continue to question the absence of Romelu Lukaku, who seems exactly the sort of player Chelsea are crying out for, given his form at Everton. Recently, Mourinho has indicated that there’s more to the striker’s loaning out than merely issues with his development. Either way, he is loaned for the remainder of the season, so Chelsea will surely be looking to sign a star striker in January.
Chelsea are currently in third position, 7 points behind leaders Arsenal, and have a game in hand with their home fixture against Southampton this Sunday. They are one of the favourites to win the league but, as Arsenal continue to look remarkably consistent, they will have to be at their absolute best to stand a hope.
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