Usually when a team has top spot in the Champions League group stage locked up going into the final matchday, there is little emphasis put on the result of that team in that final group fixture. Not so when you are Chelsea and are currently mired in a run of form that better suits the Ken Bates era than the reign of the Roman Abramovich. The 1-0 loss to Marseille has heaped more pressure on Italian boss Carlo Ancelotti as his seat grows warmer with every draw and loss. Whether it is right or wrong to speculate about Ancelotti’s future is secondary because this is Chelsea and recent history suggests he better right this ship quickly or he faces the chop from the Russian billionaire.
Chelsea entered the month of November on top of the Premier League heading into a clash at Anfield with a Liverpool side in desperate need of a season changing win. Behind raucous home support the Reds dealt Chelsea a 2-0 defeat which on its own said more about Liverpool’s need than Chelsea’s. That loss however sparked one of Chelsea’s worst runs of form in the league since Abramovich took over at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have taken just 5 points out of the 18 on offer since the beginning of November. This rather poor period for Chelsea has seen them lose consecutive matches to Sunderland and Birmingham in the league, defeat the über-minnows of MSK Zilina in unimpressive comeback fashion in front of the home supporters on a European night, draw a pair of 1-1 matches back in the league with Newcastle and Everton and rounding out this forgettable run was an away defeat to Marseille 1-0.
While the away loss on Merseyside can be forgiven, it was the manner in which Chelsea was thoroughly defeated at Stamford Bridge by Sunderland that started the alarm bells to ring. The 3-0 defeat was a bit flattering to Chelsea in truth with Sunderland failing to capitalize on many a decent chance on goal. That combined with the away loss to Birmingham allowed the murmurs about Ancelotti’s job security to quietly grow. Those whispers became full on questions when his side failed to collect more than two points from Newcastle and Everton. Those results saw them leap-frogged at the top of the table first by Manchester United and then Arsenal. A once seemingly secure lead has now been surrendered in a month without having to face a squad in the top six of the Premier League.