It is really hard to pin point any particular reason for Chelsea’s dramatic decline this season, as there are so many factors that have contributed to this state. The Blues are sitting uncomfortably 15th in the league table, and the top four finish is not guaranteed anymore.
Club manager Jose Mourinho has been backed by the Chelsea owner Roman Abrahimovich to turn things around but he could be forced to sack the Portuguese if the results do not improve quickly.
Mourinho has tried every possible tricks up his sleeve – ranging from blaming the refs, putting pressure on media with his self-created conspiracy theories to infuriating the FA officials – to divert the attentions elsewhere, but with results hardly improving, he has simply ran out of excuses. “I have got nothing to say” he claimed after Chelsea’s sixth defeat of the season at the hands of Liverpool last Saturday.
And he hasn’t helped by the fact that so many first team players have under-performed at the same time. Here we take a look at five such players whose performances have dropped drastically from last season.
Last season’s PFA Player of the Year is undoubtedly Chelsea’s one of the worst performers this term. The Belgium international has failed to score in the league so far, and has managed 55 dribbles at an average of 2.8 this time compared to 89 with an average 5.2 dribbles per game last season at this stage.
He has missed penalties and has given the impression of a player who is bereft of confidence. Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has criticised Hazard on MNF saying “You have to question his mentality, he’s a nice kid, but is he really a killer?”
At this stage last season, Costa had 10 goals to his name already. This time he has only managed two in the league. His chance conversion rate has dropped from 45% to 17% only. His touches in the opposition box has dropped from 16% to 12%.
With only 1.8 shots per game, Costa hasn’t provided enough threat going forward, although it can be argued that he hasn’t been supplied with enough clear cut goal scoring opportunities by his team mates.
Fabregas generally tends to fade away towards the second half of the season. That has been case for the past three or four seasons.
But this season, he has looked off colour from the onset and was dropped on form for the first time by Mourinho on Saturday. At this point last season, he managed nine assists to his name, this season it has dropped down to just one.
There runs a theory that Fabregas (along with Rooney) having played senior level football at a top level (for over a decade now) from an early age, has peaked early in his career, when in theory he should be playing at his peak form now. Therefore, he is failing to keep up the tempo throughout the season, although it is just a conjecture.
Matic was simply outstanding for Chelsea last season and was ever present at the heart of midfield. This season, however, the Serbian has struggled badly to replicate his last season’s form and was dropped three times from the starting XI by Mourinho. He has committed more fouls this season (2.1 compared to 1.6 last season at this stage) and was shown red card against West Ham last month.
While the entire Chelsea defence are culpable for leaking in most goals by any team within top 15, if we’re to pick any single player, it has be to Ivanovic.
The Serb defender was one of Chelsea’s most consistent defenders last season. This season, he has been simply awful. He is being beaten far too easily, made silly errors in defence leading to goals (newcastle’s opening goal at St James’ Park) while his distribution has been horrendous at times. His performance was dipping at such an alarming rate that Mourinho was forced to drop him, using Kurt Zouma, a natural centre-back in his place instead.
Stats courtesy: whoscored.com