The signs have been on all summer- very little evidence suggested we’re ready for the new season’s kick off, but I chose to ignore them for my belief and confidence in the team.
Losing the way we did to Bayern and Inter and our below par performance against Arsenal in the community shield laid bare the problems in this Chelsea side, still I somehow kept hoping something would change before the Burnley game — how wrong I was.
Against Burnley, we were perhaps at the worst we have been at a game since Mourinho’s final season in charge. There was no purpose, no zest, and the confusion was not far from the same we saw on 2015/16 all through the first half (after Cahill’s sending off).
Considering we’re a far better side than Burnley, we probably would have won the game eventually with all 11 men around, but then, we won’t know that now.
Gary Cahill’s sending off was a harsh decision in my opinion, but then the challenge wasn’t a fair one either – a twofooted plunge towards the opposition, and it was high too. It was unnecessary, and it turned the game around in Burnley’s favor. Now, we face the challenge of facing our next couple of fixtures without some of our key men. Pedro is still out injured, and now both Fabregas and Cahill will be unavailable for Spurs. How will we cope without these men? Who will replace them? What are our chances of surviving these games with our reputation still intact? These are throbbing questions that Conte needs to start finding answers to; especially with our next opposition Tottenham.
I am not worried about how we’ll finish the league, of course, we’ll finish well, because the suspended and injured players Will return eventually, I am just bothered about the journey until then.
Morata was on the scoresheet on Saturday. This is obviously a boost to his confidence, especially after the horrendous penalty miss from his last game, but even at his best, he may not be able to save us from the tough times ahead if the rest of the team are failing.
We’re going to be without our key players for a while, surviving without them is the biggest problem we face currently. Will we rush back into the market for more players or will we use the available ones pending their return? It’s a very tough one for both Chelsea and Conte, but this is the moment that will define his fate in the long and short run. Obviously the pressure on him is huge at this point, but he must dig deep now, and recreate something close to last season’s masterpiece otherwise, the outcome will not be good for both parties.