Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho must be searching intensely for answers after the Blues slipped to their third Premier League defeat of the season last weekend, a 3-2 loss at Stoke City.

Mourinho's first spell at Stamford Bridge saw the 'Special One' build a side famed for their defensive steel, formidably tough to even score against let alone beat, particularly in their West London fortress.

Things have been very different for the Portuguese tactician in recent months though, with the Stoke shambles adding to a run of just one clean sheet from their last 10 league games.

That alarming spell includes conceding six goals in three games, shipping three at both Sunderland and Stoke in the space of three days.

Mourinho has readily admitted that the Blues are "in trouble" right now, but with an embarrassment of riches at his disposal surely no Chelsea player's place should be safe given their defensive deficiencies.

If that wasn't worrying enough for Chelsea fans, their trio of star strikers in Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto'o have all failed to register more than two Premier League goals so far this season.

In perhaps the most open title race in Premier League history these inconsistencies have not been punished, but Mourinho must act now by telling four players to shape up or ship out, in an effort to make up lost ground on league leaders Arsenal during a hectic Christmas calendar.

Petr Cech

The Blues goalkeeper has been well below his brilliant best in recent months, with Chelsea prone to conceding the kind of goals from set pieces that have seemed unthinkable in the past.

Cech must take his fair share of the blame for that goal glut at the wrong end, failing to make a single save in his last 270 minutes of Premier League action.

The Czech stopper has conceded seven goals in that time, a run that Chelsea can ill afford to let continue. While Cech is certainly culpable his rearguard have also been woefully below par in recent weeks, with a collective improvement urgently required.

John Terry 

Chelsea's captain fantastic may have enjoyed a strong start to the season, but it is time to ration his minutes on the pitch after an indifferent week.

Terry managed to win just three of 10 aerial battles against Stoke on Saturday, while also making just one tackle at the Britannia Stadium, an albeit successful one.

With David Luiz out injured Mourinho has been forced to lean on the veteran perhaps more than he would have liked in the last six weeks, but it's time to give the ex-England skipper a rest.

Branislav Ivanovic 

The Serbian enforcer has been ever-present in the Premier League so far this season, but at Stoke on Saturday showed signs that he is tiring under the weight of a considerable workload.

Ivanovic was unable to find a team-mate with any of his four crosses during the 90 minutes, while also failing to put in a single tackle and misplacing six passes.

A sloppy display was compounded in the closing stages, allowing Oussama Assaidi to cut inside and unleash an unstoppable last-gasp winner.

Fernando Torres

Mr. Frustration at the Bridge was once again well off the pace against Stoke, with just a single shot blocked off target in a largely peripheral display.

Torres teased a return to form in all-action effort against Manchester City earlier this season, but a late winner in that match remains his only Premier League goal in 11 matches this season.

A plethora of prolific midfielders may prop up his frugal efforts at the halfway stage of the campaign, but if Mourinho is serious about making a success of his second Chelsea stint the time to drop Torres for good is fast approaching.

Topics:
#Petr Cech
#Branislav Ivanovic
#Fernando Torres
#Premier League
#John Terry
#Chelsea
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