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Chelsea Face A Crucial Month

Villa Park, Aston Villa v Chelsea , Premier League 16/10/2010  Chelsea Manager / Head coach, Carlo Ancelotti Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

October ended with Chelsea looking imperious and pulling away from the chasing pack at the top of the Premiership. The side seemed to playing with such verve and spirit that I simply couldn’t see where any worthy challenge could come from. Manchester United were struggling to hit any real form, but continued to pick up points other sides would lose. Arsenal being Arsenal, looked amazing one week and then lost a game from nowhere. Manchester City continued to play as if expression was something to be feared.

Liverpool and Aston Villa were struggling to cope with the hangovers from summers of upheaval and Tottenham are still getting used to being involved at this end of the table. Then from nowhere, Chelsea hit the skids and suddenly, we have a title race again. November has been a hellish month for the Blues, with the Wilkins situation, Lampard’s continued absence, Terry and Alex both struggling, Essien suspended and Drogba’s illness sapping him of his strength and power. Then from nowhere Frank Arnesen announces his departure and you begin to think just what is going on at Stamford Bridge.

Crucially though Chelsea seemed to have no luck both on and off the pitch in the last four weeks. The game against Birmingham was one of the most one sides defeats I’ve seen in years. Chelsea absolutely battered Birmingham but couldn’t make the crucial breakthrough to score. When you play that well and the ball simply will not go in, then you really think things are conspiring against you. It’s unfortunate when 5 of your top stars all get sidelined for various reasons and most sides would struggle to cope with that level of disruption to their first team squad.

The Wilkins situation has, regardless of what the clubs hierarchy have said, had an effect on the dressing room and been a contributing factor. Tactical mistakes too have played their part, as the defeat to Sunderland had a lot to do with playing 3 right backs in a back four left them unbalanced and positionally unsure when defending. By not playing a recognised centre back, the impetus was offered to Steve Bruce’s side and they took full advantage playing with pomp and prowess.

The additional pain of being dislodged from the top of the table on Saturday was not only had Manchester United pulled two points clear, but by thrashing Blackburn Rovers so convincingly, goal difference had been drawn level. All of the advantages that Chelsea had, coming up to a tough December had been eaten away by a series of unfortunate injuries, suspensions and tactics.

Now Chelsea face 5 tough matches in the league, 4 against the current top 6. Visits to Tottenham and Arsenal, coupled with home games against Everton, Bolton and of course, Manchester United. At least it seems Terry and Lampard will return in the next week or so, but Alex faces a lay off for an operation and the front line is still struggling for goals. The old adage in English football is the title is usually decided at Easter, but Christmas could come early for Chelsea’s rivals if their dreadful month continues in to December. The club need to make sure that regardless of the off field problems, things need to get back to normal on the pitch.

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    December 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Because of the performance may be….

  2. humza

    November 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    all we need is to get back into this line up

    Cech: Bosingwa-Terry-Alex-Cole
    Lampard-Essien-Obi Mikel

    this line up will be back next week
    BUT i think that we should replace anelka with aguero:
    then aguero would play up front with drogba

    and the formation would be: 4-2-3-1
    Essien-Obi Mikel

    that would beastify everyteam.

  3. Phil Sandifer

    November 30, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I have a hard time thinking this is down to lack of squad depth. Midfield is where their injuries have been the worst, but look at their midfields in the games against Sunderland, Birmingham, and Newcastle – Ramires, Mikel, and Malouda provided the anchor. That may not be a Premier League winning midfield, but it’s at least a decent midfield. Surely it’s a midfield that ought to have gotten more than 1 point out of 9 against those three teams. In comparison, Blackburn got 4 against those three teams, Wigan got 3, Stoke got 6, and West Ham got 4. Getting one point out of 9 against those three teams is what relegation strugglers do.

    Chelsea picked up 4 out of 15 points in November. That point haul, on average, puts you at 30 points for the season. Chelsea will surely not get relegated, but when a team that should be title contenders are out and out playing like relegation scrappers, the problem is not just the depth of the bench. Any relegation struggling team would kill to put one of Chelsea’s benchwarmers in their starting XI.

  4. Football Souvenirs

    November 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Chelsea’s lack of squad depth is being exposed. Key injured players have not been replaced, particularly in midfield, Lampard and more so Essien. With much of their squad over 30 there is some serous repair needed

  5. Football Souvenirs

    November 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Chelsea’s lack of squad depth is costing them, they have not replaced key injured personel, particularly in midfield where Lampard and more so Essien are badly missed. With much of their squad over 30 there is some serious repair needed to the squad

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