Bah. So Sunday’s thrashing at the feet of Sunderland at the Bridge should be a wakeup call to all of Chelsea nation. But let’s not overreact, it was one match, and true champions usually bounce back after a poor performance, which I expect us to do against Birmingham on Saturday. But still…
I think it’s safe to say that after the strength of our starting XI, we have some serious depth issues. I’ll admit I didn’t blink twice when the club jettisoned Joe Cole, Ballack, Deco, and even Carvalho, but now those cost cutting measures have come back to bite us in the butt.
Without JT and Alex, a makeshift backline of Ferreira and Ivanovic was ravaged repeatedly. Which begs the question, if the recent reports that both JT and Alex could be out for up to several months, exacerbated by Lampard’s continuing struggles to return back to health, Malouda and Essien battling nagging injuries, and Drogbazooka fighting off malaria, what’s a top flight team with a ravaged midfield and backline to do?
For one, why not give young Jeffrey Bruma some playing time, so that in the very real possibility that he’ll have to play in a match that really matters, he won’t be a deer in headlights. And same goes for Patrick Van Aanholt and Josh McEachran, who Ancelotti gave minutes earlier in the season but is now mostly relegated back to the bench. If Ramires, Zhirkov, and Ferreira aren’t going to pick up the slack, then let the kids play so that they can grow into men.
Drogba, Malouda, Lampard, Essien, JT, and Alex have all missed time with injuries, and some may miss even more. Is it time to revise our expectations for this year? Is it fair that we expect a win every match, or unrealistic? Probably both, and now isn’t a bad time to reassess our prospects for this season.
So what’s the prudent thing to do? If I’m Carletto, maybe it’s time to switch back to a 4-4-2 with Malouda either on the left or the attacking position in a diamond midfield where he can still run rampant, and Mikel(who’s quietly been a rock in the middle) anchoring the back. We may no longer be able to regularly showcase our singularly beautiful style of attacking football, but it’s time to put a bandage on a hemorrhaging defense. Whatever Ancelotti decides to do, he should park Lampard on his bed and make sure he doesn’t get up until he’s truly healthy, hell, give him all the massages from sultry masseuses he can handle; same for JT(eek); crack the whip gently on Zhirkov and Ramires, and get Bruma, McEachran, and Van Aanholt some minutes, hope that our veterans will stem the tide, and pray.
It’s a long season and there will inevitably be ebbs and rises in our form. If we can treat Sunday as the low mark of the season, then things can only get better, right? Right?