Are Chelsea in trouble?
There is cause for concern after Saturday's defeat at Everton
Yes, it is only one loss. Yes, the Barclays Premier League is only four weeks into the 2013/14 season. Yes, it may be too early to have cause for concern. That does not mean that concern and worry do not arise.
After all, at the helm of Chelsea is the ‘Special One’. We expect nothing but greatness from him and his teams. So, with that in mind it must be asked: Are Chelsea already in trouble?
After the 1-0 loss to Everton, the Blues will fall out of the top four, and a minimum of two points off the pace. Chelsea looked uninspired in the loss and new striker Samuel Eto’o was average, but did not solve the London outfit’s striker woes. The trio behind Eto’o - Hazard, Mata, Schurrle, and later Oscar - failed to make much of an impact as well. Hazard was wasteful and gave the ball away far too often, and Schurrle had two chances that a player of his quality should have converted.
The club looked much like last season’s team which crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages. They were unable to break down a club that defended well and were stung by Everton’s swift attacks against the run of play. This was precisely the same problem that plagued Chelsea last season; they had all the talent, but could not find the back of the net.
For what it's worth, Chelsea haven't looked particularly good in any of their Premier League matches this term, and Jose Mourinho’s free-flowing style of play has not really been evident thus far. The back four have looked good, but still managed to concede right on the stroke of half-time at Goodison Park which seemed to give Everton real belief that they could nick a win.
Oscar and Hazard have been impressive but against Everton, Hazard was not his spectacular self, and Oscar was reduced to a cameo appearance. It must be asked, what happens when one or both of the dynamic duo doesn’t perform well? We saw just that against Everton; nobody else stepped up, and the Blues went home empty handed.
Additionally, questions must be asked of Mourinho’s new recruits. The club brought in Schurrle and Willian, in addition to the returning Kevin De Bruyne, making the attacking midfield overcrowded. As a result, playing time will be hard to find for all of the attacking players; this could bite Chelsea, as those who are chosen may be rusty, as Juan Mata demonstrated against Everton having not featured for the Blues so far this season.
Having the depth may be nice, but giving players a run of games is also necessary; with six players vying for three positions, it is hard to see any of the players getting three or four consecutive starts. This may cause problems, as the players may become disgruntled, or may be sub-par when allowed to play.
The lack of potent strikers, the team's apparent inability to dissect stubborn, defensive clubs, and the overcrowding at certain positions may all come back to haunt Chelsea when the destination of the Premier League title is decided next May.
So is there cause for concern at Stamford Bridge? Hopefully, it is just growing pains, but only time will tell if the club is to better last season's achievements.