It may still only be mid September, but at the moment Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side are looking like a team that are slowly digging themselves into a hole.
The Blues have played six games in all competitions and have only recorded a victory in the opening two games, which currently leaves Mourinho’s men on a run of four games without a victory.
Under normal circumstances that would be cause for Roman Abramovich to raise his axe and behead Chelsea of another manager, but having tried and failed with so many men since he first let Mourinho leave, the Russian billionaire has almost run out of options.
Mourinho has said he will shoulder the blame for his team’s failures in their opening 6 games, and rightfully so. While his side have lacked consistency with their results, they he has also lacked consistency in his starting eleven.
Chelsea have more competition in their squad than ever this year – especially in midfield – and while tinkering every game may keep players fresh, it won’t keep them happy, nor will it up the chemistry and understanding if no-one knows who they are going to be playing alongside each week.
Chelsea reverted to 4-2-3-1 under Roberto Di Matteo and it was a move that worked brilliantly leading to their victories in the FA Cup and Champions League, but it was also the formation that brought upon Juan Mata’s prominence in the team.
To most onlookers it is a system that works only because it gives Juan Mata that number 10 role. When Oscar or Hazard or whoever else is selected for that position then the whole system breaks down.
Last night Chelsea had three players that are far too similar in style playing in the midfield in Oscar, Hazard and Willian. Each time one got the ball they wanted to take it themselves and run at players – and too often than not they left someone sitting in a better position waiting for a ball that was never going to come.
Mata isn’t that type of player. Mata looks to create chances for others and in doing so sometimes it may seem as if he lingers on the ball slowing the play down. But surely Mourinho would rather have someone who is willing to feed chances through for the striker and players around him rather than three who are all looking to do the job themselves?
The signs are showing with every game that Jose Mourinho has no idea what his best team is. He clearly has an idea for what way he wants to play and the fact Juan Mata is benched more often than not suggests the Spaniard’s style conflicts with Mourinho’s current ideas.
While Chelsea fans that are crying out for Mata to play aren’t saying he is going to make Chelsea win games on his own, because that isn’t the type of player he is. But what they are saying is that how does one expect their team to win if their best player isn’t playing?
Mourinho has to look at the last two games and realise that the style and tactics he is going for aren’t working at the moment, and with the form of teams like Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League, Jose doesn’t have time to sit and wait for his new look Chelsea to gel.
It’s easy to praise Mata when he isn’t playing and the people that are playing instead are failing, but the only person that seems to think Mata shouldn’t be playing is Mourinho. He needs to look to his plan B, and if that’s what Juan Mata is, then it’s time to trust him and change things. The Blues need his magic more than ever right now.