Chelsea’s poor run of form continued as we drew 1-1 against West Ham United at home to put further dent to our outside chances of qualifying for the Champions League. Our inconsistencies this season is very appalling. Prior to the game, Arsenal legend Paul Merson gave a sounding caution to Chelsea’s travails. In his column for the Daily Star, he wrote:
“Chelsea are in danger of becoming another Arsenal and I don’t see how [Juventus boss] Max Allegri is going to stop that from happening.
“Antonio Conte is on his way out, but I can’t see the owner spending bundles of money in the summer. I can see Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois leaving.
“These are worrying times for Chelsea. I don’t see any way back for them. I think they’re going to be also-rans again next season. Other teams have come flying past them and will only get stronger. Tottenham and Liverpool are already ahead of them.
“Manchester United will spend big again. I don’t see City dropping out of the top four either, so Chelsea could be out of the Champions League for years to come in my opinion – just like Arsenal.
“Allegri might help. He’s a good manager. But he comes from a league which is nothing like ours and there are no guarantees he will be a big success.
“It’s not the manager you have to worry about though. It’s the owner. He doesn’t seem to want to back his team in the transfer market.
“It’s a big worry because that Chelsea team isn’t good enough and whoever takes over from Conte in the summer is going to realise that pretty quick.”
Merson’s words are quite true and obviously we pick out a handful of reasons for Chelsea’s inconsistency this season. Here are 3 of the many:
DROP IN FORM AND FITNESS OF KEY PLAYERS:
A year ago Chelsea strolled to the title all thanks to the form and fitness of key players. Hazard was mesmerizing, Pedro was amazing, Kante was bossing the midfield, the defence triumvirate of Azpilicueta, Luiz and Cahill was solid. In addition, the contributions of Willian, Fabregas, Courtois, the reborn Victor Moses and Alonso were key. Chelsea seemed destined for more glory years. But all hopes have been dashed as key players have struggled. With exception to Kante, Hazard, Willian and Alonso, majority of Chelsea players have been very average this season. Morata’s inability to replace Costa has been worrisome with the Spanish striker plagued by form and fitness issues mid season. Bakayoko has been a nightmare trying to replace Matic. The likes of Cahill, Luiz, Moses, Fabregas and Pedro have all flattered to deceive. Clearly, Chelsea must do an upgrade and overhaul of its playing staff to avoid being another ‘Arsenal’.
CONTE’S LACK OF ACTION PLANS A MONSTER IN THE BUILDING:
Chelsea’s abject effort in the transfer market this season is well-documented. More so, this led to Conte’s constant criticism of the club’s board which brought about internal strife. While the club can be blamed for not giving the Italian the players he wants, Conte has also been found wanting in his handling of the team. Poor decision making with regards to team selection, lack of decisive changes during most games and no graft in definite playing style and pattern that will transform the team as other teams have found a way to play against us. These have been his lows. The Italian has failed to live up to expectations.
LACK OF SUPPORT FROM THE CLUB’S BOARD:
The balance of power is changing with the spending spree going crazier at every transfer window. Clubs are buying the best to do well competitively. The slash of cash of heavyweights clubs like PSG, Liverpool, the Manchester clubs, Barca have spent has seen Chelsea lag behind them all. The lack of support from the club’s board with regards to making marquee signings have been discouraging to the fans, playing and coach teams. Chelsea are gradually losing the plot and are finding it hard to compete against the best.
Let’s hope things change for the better. Cheers!