Chelsea haven’t been in their best form for a while now and it looks as though going out of the Champions League to Paris Saint-Germain and a scrappy 1-1 against Southampton is showing a team that has lost their edge.
Jose Mourinho looked on as his side struggled to break down the stubborn visitors on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League and he will be concerned the draw will further sap belief out of his side.
Early on it all looked as though the Blues would be shrugging off their midweek disappointment at the hands of the Ligue 1 champions as Diego Costa popped up unmarked six yards out to head home a Branislav Ivanovic cross after only 11 minutes.
But it was clear to see that nerves were still affecting Jose Mourinho’s men as they could not get a grip on the game. Much like Wednesday’s disappointment, Southampton used the ball better and were far more effective in possession.
It told in the 19th minute when a combination of Nemanja Matic and Ivanovic brought down Sadio Mane in the box and Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Replays suggested that Matic had got the ball, but the Serb was booked anyway and it was a very untidy challenge – Chelsea’s social media team weren’t happy about the decision, judging by their tweet.
Dusan Tadic’s spot kick hit Thibaut Courtois’ legs, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out. It clearly affected the home side because Southampton looked extremely dangerous on the break through Mane and Shane Long.
The second half proved more promising and Fraser Forster in the Saints goal was on hand to make crucial saves from substitute Juan Cuadrado and Costa. But Chelsea sis look vulnerable on the counter-attack and it could have gone either way.
While not quite as bad as the PSG draw, the Blues certainly looked as though the weight of expectation on their shoulders was a little too much to bear. Only Southampton’s sitting deep made them look more dangerous, as when Ronald Koeman’s side stepped higher up the pitch there was little for the Blues going forward.
Chelsea’s plight is summed up by the continued poor from of Cesc Fabregas, who was poor again and his failure to maintain his early season form has left the burden of creativity on Eden Hazard, who has never been entirely comfortable with that role.
Mourinho set his stall out before the match and guaranteed that the Blues would be lifting the Premier League trophy com the end of the season and while that is still certainly the most likely outcome, this is hardly a reaction of champions to Manchester City’s defeat to Burnley yesterday.
Chelsea have lost their edge and at the moment look as though they will be stumbling over the finishing line to lift the Premier League trophy, if they do.
WILL CHELSEA STILL HAVE ENOUGH TO WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE? OR CAN ONE OF THE CHASING CLUBS CATCH THEM?