Chelsea’s Side Is Riddled With Holes, But Does Di Matteo Have Time To Strengthen?

The forthcoming Premier League season is arguably the most anticipated campaign in many years. The groundbreaking signing of Robin van Persie by Manchester United has certainly captured the imagination and notice of everyone involved in English football and therefore, before a ball has been kicked in anger the season has already had one of its biggest stories.

Over at Stamford Bridge, after having spent a tremendous amount during the close season, Chelsea should in theory be better equipped to challenge for silverware this term, but will that actually be the case?

Building from last season’s universally unexpected triumph is something that has been to the forefront of all those concerned with Chelsea since that glorious night in Munich in May. Having lost the colossus that is Didier Drogba, Chelsea has as yet failed to replace one of the Premier League’s greatest players and this may be where they find trouble. Certainly the signing of Eden Hazard in the face of stiff competition from the Manchester clubs was noteworthy and clearly a signal of intent, but has this signing along with the signing of Marko Marin and Oscar strengthened their spine to the degree that will allow them to prosper in what should be a titanic battle for supremacy in England this season.

One man who holds the key to their fate is Fernando Torres and his rebirth of sorts at the European Championships is something that should fill supporters of Chelsea with hope. If he were to recapture the form he magnificently displayed on a regular basis for Liverpool during their push for the title in 2008-2009, then come May we may be looking at the next champions of England. However would you really place your trust in the Spaniard after his forgettable contribution to the Chelsea side during his tenure there thus far?

Last season Chelsea was exposed regularly and with ease by some weak teams at the back. Granted they prevailed in the Champions League through some heroic rearguard action, but the 38 game Premier League exposed flaws that frankly have yet to be addressed. Clearly John Terry (albeit after a fine Euro 2012 campaign) was caught out time and again last season and his English partner Gary Cahill didn’t fare much better. While David Luiz, in spite of some eye-catching performances, withered when faced with the physical nature of English football. A central defender and a seasoned right back were desperately needed to address these issues, but so far these difficulties remain unaddressed. Maicon from Inter would have been the perfect signing and another powerful signal of intent, while Silva who departed Milan for Paris Saint-Germain would have fitted the bill at centre half. If Chelsea are, as is clearly obvious, determined to reclaim their stranglehold over the Premier League, then strengthening these positions was key. If they do not make a major defensive signing by the end of August, then personally I fear their problems at the back will rise to the surface as the season evolves.

However, Chelsea have the look of a team that will have a significant effect on the outcome of this year’s Premier League title. Perhaps with a defensive addition coupled with a striker of true quality like Falcao, who would certainly trump the signing of van Persie, they would be clear favourites to be crowned champions of England again. Therefore, in spite of the exciting signings already undertaken so far this summer, I believe that this season will once again be a disappointing one for the men from the Bridge in the Premier League.

I predict a fourth place finish for them with Arsenal overtaking them.

38 thoughts on “Chelsea’s Side Is Riddled With Holes, But Does Di Matteo Have Time To Strengthen?”

  1. Have to agree with your analysis, and with Abramovich’s usual interference could be even worse.
    While not a Chelsea fan, it looks very much like he is adopting a pre Mourinho Real Madrid approach, buying the players that the manager has to make work and OKaying the team sheet. This may have been successful in the 2 horse race that is La Liga, but might come unstuck in the PL.

  2. What a plank! Ha ha ha harsenal are going to win everything every year, keep your thoughts to yourself, this article is embarrassing.

      1. Someone writes an article that talks about Chelsea’s faults and they’re automatically a Man Utd supporter. What true unarguable logic…

        1. It’s in his bio on the site and you are probably the most pessimistic blogger on here for a second I thought you wrote your second article saying how Chelsea is going to be shite this coming season.

          1. Lol thank you granting me the title of most pessimistic blogger. I wasn’t trying to to say Chelsea were going to be terrible as I think their defense and midfield is pretty solid. I’m just not sold on the instant resurgence of Fernando Torres based off his recent form but that is my opinion which you of course don’t have to agree with.

  3. Chelsea have a strong midfield and forward line. It’s in the back that they are still vulnerable. If they sign 1 or 2 quality defendes then who knows how well they’ll do in challenging the 2 Manchester clubs. We have to wait until the transfer window closes to give a better evaluation of any club.

  4. I don’t think Chelsea is riddled with holes. I think the issues with this team is whether Torres can regain form, another striker (if Torres fails), an extra defender and team cohesion.

    A lot of new faces are on the team and we just don’t know how they will fit.

    AVB’s style of defense didn’t fit the squad, Di Mateo changed it back to previous years and won them the Champions League.

    While I don’t expect Chelsea to contend for the title, I don’t think this squad has a lot of holes either (but are they building the team for 4-6-0).

  5. you pple u never stop to amaze me,two seasons ago u where sayin chelsea will nevr achive anythin bcz we hv vry old players nw we have offloaded nd recruited e bst youngsters n europe u start sayin we will never achive anthin,to my suprisemnt we hd a double lst season far mch better than all e epl clubs,come end of season u will be quite w us displaying 5 trophies n our cabinet.go to hell all u chelsea haters

  6. Holding mid and back four will be a challenge again for Chelsea this year. Sorry Torres and all your supporters, you are not the striker solution for Chelsea. He could not fight with Drogba for a place, he can’t fight defenders. One never doubted the quality of the fight in DD. That is what we need. Fighters, warriors, proven winners who will leave it all on the pitch every week.

  7. stopped reading when you started criticising terry & cahill’s performances last season. you should watch a team play before you comment on them.

    1. Absolutely agree with you. You are not qualified to write such an article about Chelsea unless you watched AT LEAST 2/3 of their games last season. This is purely based off assumptions made from a small sample of games, just like everyone that calls Chelsea overtly defensive because of 3 high profile CL matches they saw.

      Your point about Maicon could not be further from the truth. Maicon was always much more attacking a player than defensively. He’s now 31 and is woefully out of form.

      If you want to talk about defenses with holes in them, Manchester United has 1 world class CB in Vidic. Rio is even more over the hill than Terry and Johnny Evans shouldn’t be allowed to even touch a United shirt. Smalling and Jones have potential.

  8. I am not worried about our defensive unit. John Terry is good for another season or two. Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill and Cole are all experienced Premier League defenders and Petr Cech is one of the best keepers in the game.They understand one another, are aware of their roles and are capable of brilliant defending. I am quite happy with Ivanovic at RB. He can also be used in central defence if needed. It appears we will sign Cesar Azpilicueta to replace Bosingwa. He is highly rated in the French league and is an excellent man to man marker because of his speed. He will be a capable backup for Ivanovic. When it comes to a choice between Luiz and Cahill to partner Terry I’d pick Luiz.

    Our central midfield does not lack players eager to perform such as Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Mikel. Meireles, and Romeu. Ramires was the standout last season and Mikel has improved considerably as our holding midfielder. I believe Torres will play a vital role as our striker and a 4-2-3-1 formation would benefit him. He will have Eden Hazard to back him up with assists and If we are lucky enough to sign Hulk he will provide speedy crosses from the wing to create more goal-scoring opportunities. As for Oscar I can’t wait to see him in a blue shirt.

    I believe it will come down to a close fight between us and Man City for the League win and hopefully we’ll come out on top.

  9. As I covered last week about Chelsea up front, , I believe relying so heavily on Torres up front for the majority of the goals scored is a major gamble. However, I believe that their defense and midfield are pretty formidable and it may prove enough to get them into the top 4.

    What I don’t understand is the hostile attitude so many Chelsea fans who visit this website seem to share whenever someone writes articles that aren’t pro-Chelsea. I understand fans of all teams can get offended when articles are written that bash something about their favorite teams. But some of these com-mentors say articles they don’t like automatically suck and don’t really explain why. If you got a beef with an article at least pick out what’s wrong with it.

  10. It’s a pity fans cannot take an objective view without taking it personally.
    Anyone who believes JT is the same player he was 5 years ago needs an optician badly, true he had some good games but he was caught out all to often last season.
    I got a lot of thumbs down for daring to suggest Abramovich’s interference was beneficial. He may have patience with the players but that doesn’t extend to managers. Just because your team has 7 or 8 top class players doesn’t necessarily make it a successful team, you need a competent manager who is given time.

    1. It’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m sure a lot of these Chelsea fans eat, live and breathe Chelsea — reading the Chelsea blogs, Chelsea forums, Chelsea official website, as well as listening to Chelsea podcasts, so they — like some supporters of other clubs — live in an insular world where everything they read, hear or write is pro-Chelsea. Perhaps the only time they venture elsewhere is for Chelsea-related news from blogs and online newspapers.

      Hence the amazement when a blogger writes something subjective, criticizing their favorite club.

      I’m not picking on Chelsea fans. It applies to most of us, in many ways, but I still find it fascinating.

      The Gaffer

      1. Well put. Supporters of all clubs gobble up as much as they can read about their club. I also understand how when someone writes an article that criticizes a team you support, one wants to fight back especially if the article has faults. But at least put some thought into a criticism that actually sounds like you read the article and not just the headline.

      2. Gaffer,

        You made an excellent point about the perspective of the reader being swayed by most oftenly reading biased articles on blogs with a team allegiance.

        However, it really doesn’t help legitimize the overtly biased points made by this particular author. As awful as certain defensive moments were, especially with AVB’s highline, I think anyone would struggle to name a team with more depth and experience as Chelsea’s 4 CBs: Terry, Luiz, Cahill and Ivanovic; not even City can make a claim to this. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that CB is the position that Chelsea has the most depth in.

        Calling RB a hole is fair, but saying Maicon is the perfect signing is literally the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. I love your site, but this article just doesn’t cut it.

      3. I don’t think one has to live in an insular world to find a few weaknesses in the opinions expressed in articles such as this. The article isn’t terribly persuasive that Chelsea’s side is riddled with holes. I’m sure a great many teams would enjoy being burdened with such a squad. More worryingly, the article does the work of immediately undercutting its own assertions – acknowledging, for example, that Chelsea’s defensive qualities in the Champions League and Terry’s in the Euros were pretty good. Seeing as those events transpired a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t expect enormous dips in quality just yet. I appreciate the author acknowledging the obvious, but it doesn’t help his argument. To suggest that center backs Terry, Luiz, and Cahill contribute to a back line riddled with holes is perhaps a bit of an overstatement. Having a backup right wing back and another striker would be nice. But I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that this particular team is pretty competitive.

        I think it’s a bit odd in this setting for authors to critique reader responses as being either overly sensitive or somehow brainwashed by narrowly focused reading. If bloggers are entitled to opinions unsupported by much in the way of persuasive evidence, I don’t see why the standard should be any higher for readers.

        1. Readers are entitled to share their opinions, too — absolutely. I was merely taking a step back, and just commenting on some of the opinions expressed which are undoubtedly written with rose-coloured glasses — or, in this case, blue-coloured glasses! :)

          The Gaffer

  11. Groundbreaking! you act like manure have never signed a player before,i don’t hear old bacon face moaning about millions being spent now,of course i understand it is considererd fair play when stretford are doing the spending.

  12. Okay…let me pick. Your presumption that Drogba is irreplaceable is hard to accept. He scored a few memorable goals in two big tournaments but his overall success during the EPL season has to be seen statistically as unnoteworthy. Torres will play well. The criticisms he has endured from bloggers and armchair know nothings count for little. The fact is that CFC played poor football. No one up front was going to set the world on fire in last year’s system The signings during the break will remedy that plodding style. Luka Modric was on the team radar for so long because that was a known challenge. Now we have playmakers in Oscar and Hazard. We’ll see. The real test will be the crushing schedule they will play. You saw how the fixture grind hurt Barca. We need a deep bench. All indications are that all the right moves are being made.

  13. I am one of those Chelsea fans who believes Torres be given time to prove himself as our central striker without another striker breathing down his neck. Let’s not forget this season will be the first time he is guaranteed a first team slot as Drogba is no longer at the Bridge. Signing a striker who can fill in on the wing is the answer and in my opinion Hulk is the man for the job. I hope we can get him!

  14. Am tied of all this delay in signing, if we are not ready for the season then we should forget it and stop giving us heart break.

  15. I’m definitely NOT a Chelsea fan, but I don’t think they’re in terrible shape.

    Torres hasn’t done well for a while, but even more than him doing a little better in the Euros the new lineup seems to favor him more.
    The new playmakers (Oscar, Hazard, and Mata — who’s still fairly new) seem like they would be better at the clinical through-balls which is where Torres was always most potent (and they type of delivery he has NOT been getting with Chelsea.)

    For the defense Luiz seems like he’d be a better holding mid — generally defensive but not the last line (since he can’t fully be relied on). I also think Cahill is better than he gets credit for: if Terry is excellent at goal-line defending Cahill has always been better at intercepting plays before they become a problem. You don’t get as many amazing defensive plays to point to, but he’s helping — especially if partnered with someone who can do that last-ditch defending.

    Anyway, I’d personally like nothing more than to see them finish in the bottom half but realistically think they will be a threat, but probably NOT top two.

  16. Chelsea have strengthened in all the key areas EXCEPT main striker.

    Pinning our hopes of competing with Man U and Man C on Torres and Sturridge is just ridiculous.

    It is this gap, now, that will determine if we are contenders or not.

    Sign 2 quality front men Roman!

  17. Torres finished last season with a brilliant hat-trick against QPR. He also sealed Chelsea’s victory over Barcelona for a place in the Champions League Final which we went on to win. When Spain retained their crown in the European Championships Torres was awarded the Golden Boot. I believe the time has arrived for him to come good with the Blues and am not prepared to give up on him.

  18. Gaffer, I’ve noticed that, too about Chelsea fans being ultra defensive (I think it has something to do with being constantly called a plastic by rival fans). As a Chelsea fan, I can still be somewhat objective and I think Michael has some valid points. CFC may not be “riddled with holes,” but they need a RB, consistent striker/Torres to get back to form, and the guts to bench Terry (the match with Arsenal at the Bridge last season, for example). But if the players can learn how to play with together and Di Matteo can figure out the right formation, I think they can finish in the third spot.

  19. judging a team with their previous performance is not a good analysis of football… The only problem chelsea will be facing this season is the combination of both mikel and lampard in holding midfield in the 4 2 3 1 formation which i see is very slow and exposes our defence to great dangers bcos both play passes backwards and are not realy flexible like the parker modric combinations or the bosquet xavi flexibilities…. If oscar could step up to the task i see a formidable chelsea team dis season… With torres poor form our attacking midfielders can get into scoring positions and give us the glory so we are not realy relying on torres…. And we need a right back and a right winger so we shud hurry up and sign cesar nd moses

  20. I must admit we Chelsea fans have got to be realistic about this season. Finishing in the top 3 is a MUST. I believe we have a better squad than either Arsenal or Spurs. However, I must admit City are a very strong team and more than likely will come out on top and we will struggle with Man Utd for the second spot now that they have signed Van Persie. If we sign Hulk I’ll be disappointed if we don’t finish within two or three points from the top…….We must think long term as we are in a transition phase and it will take time for our young acquisitions to adapt to Premier football. We have bought well for the future and next year will be well set for the title.

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