Chelsea’s laboured victory over Steaua Bucharest will have done little to ease the mind of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. The victory brought the team it’s first clean sheet for a number of games, and that certainly will have been welcome, but the opposition was hardly of the calibre that should worry a tam with the Blues’ aspirations. On the back of recent form however, Mourinho will have been looking for so much more.
Six goals in two away games isn’t a bad return, especially with Eden Hazard starting to turn in stellar performances on a regular basis. At the other end of the pitch however, conceding the same number in two games against Sunderland and Stoke City, is a worry for Mourinho, and was enough for the Portuguese to declare that Chelsea ‘are in trouble.’
Much of Mourinho’s reputation has been built on a solid defence, and in his first tenure at the Bridge, his defence broke records for their meanness, and the hearts of many an opposition forward line for their steely determination to keep clean sheets. This time however, the Blues’ back four looks anything but solid – especially at set pieces.
At the Stadium of Light, Gus Poyet’s relegation threatened team used set plays to repeatedly threaten Peter Cech’s goal, and Peter Crouch also scored from a scramble following a corner at the Britannia Stadium yesterday.
Mourinho’s stony-faced post-match interview after the Stoke game suggested a determination to ensure that things improved, but his admission that this Chelsea is very different to the 2005-2007 vintage was also probably very telling. There’s little doubt that the manager is looking to re-shape the squad to make it more in his own mould than what exists at present.
This is very much a crucial time in Chelsea’s season, and expect Mourinho to undertake a chunk of dealing in January to get his club out of ‘trouble.’
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