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Chelsea could struggle this season

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We may only be one week into the new Premier League season, but there is already a feeling that something is not right at Chelsea. It didn't even need Saturday's 2-2 draw at home to Swansea to realise that.

The Blues had a poor pre-season, including defeats to New York Red Bulls and Arsenal in the Community Shield, as well as being taken to penalties by both PSG and Barcelona. Yet as we all know, these fixtures hardly have a baring on how any team, let alone Chelsea, will fare in the coming campaign.

Nevertheless, the Jose Mourinho we have been seeing over the past month or so is not the same vibrant, confident Mourinho as we have become so accustomed to. Instead, we are witnessing a man who is agitated, frustrated and discontented. First team doctor Eva Carneiro was the latest victim of the Mourinho blame game at the weekend after she treated an Eden Hazard knock towards the end of the Swansea game, an act which her boss claimed was needless and could have cost his side victory. 

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"I was not happy because even if you're a doctor or secretary on the bench you have to understand the game," said Mourinho, who cut an irked figure after the draw.

"If you go to the field to help a player you have to be clear if a player has a serious problem. I am sure that Hazard was not a serious problem."

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Odd from Jose 

It may be typical Mourinho to turn his anger toward the referee, his players or even, as we have seen before, the fans. However, it was very unlike the Portuguese to blame his team's doctor for a disappointing performance.

Disappointing Saturday certainly was. Chelsea lacked rhythm and fluidity to their play. In addition, they were uncharacteristically slack at the back - you only needed to look at Andre Ayew's equaliser for Swansea to figure that out. Oscar didn't celebrate his opener, right-back Branislav Ivanovic was given a torrid time by Jefferson Montero and star keeper Thibaut Courtois was given a straight red card. This was not the tranquil, calm performance that Chelsea produced so many of last season.

The reason for that is as straightforward as it could be feasible to fix. Chelsea have simply not had a good transfer window. One of the hallmarks of true champions is how you respond after winning a title. There is always room for improvement, something SIr Alex Ferguson always believed in at Manchester United. Very rarely did you see 'Fergie' fail to add to his squad, regardless of whether a title had just been won. The brilliance behind it was that Ferguson kept the cohesion and togetherness at United, to go together with the new additions he had brought in.

This is something Manchester City have been guilty of in the past. After the stunning 2011-12 league triumph, manager Roberto Mancini failed to acquire the quality needed to retain to the title. His rivals did bolster their squads, and the result ended in the league being lost to rivals United and Mancini eventually losing his job. 

Current manager Manuel Pellegrini is just as culpable. After regaining the Premiership during 2013-14, the Chilean's first season in charge, City again floundered in their attempt at improving their squad. Defender Eliaquim Mangala was the only big arrival and his debut season proved to be just as stumbling as City's second attempt to retain the title last season.

Development 

The trend is beginning to unravel. To retain your crown, you have to develop your squad because you can bet your bottom dollar that the rivals will be doing and spending everything they can to take your place as the country's number one team. 

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp sees the problems Chelsea are having. "There hasn’t been that buzz around them that there was last year," said the former Liverpool and Tottenham man. "This season, it seems a bit flat. They should be bouncing into the new season. Instead there are doubts about Costa’s fitness, they haven’t won a pre-season game and lost the Community Shield to Arsenal. And if they don’t get off to a good start things can change very quickly. That mood is partly down to the fact they haven’t signed those big-name, exciting players like they did in 2014."

Chelsea clearly are falling into the same trap as their rivals have before. After all the money spent and astute additions made to reclaim the league title, the lacklustre business done this summer means that they could be falling behind.

This is even more evident when you look at the business that the Blues' competitors have done this close season. Arsenal have upgraded in goal with Petr Cech who, despite his horror debut at home to West Ham on Sunday, will undoubtedly bring a wealth of class and experience to a position the Gunners have needed to improve for years.

Manchester City have brought in Raheem Sterling who, whether he is worth £49 million or not, will surely make City much more of a threat up top.

And, predictably, Manchester United have strengthened. Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian have all arrived at Old Trafford to give United an outside chance of competing for the title this season.

Chelsea, on the other hand, are falling adrift. Their defence, midfield and attack has not been improved and Radamel Falcao, who came on as a substitute of Saturday, is the only new face of note at Stamford Bridge. Even he is recovering from a serious knee injury suffered 18 months ago, as well as a struggling showing for Manchester United last campaign.

Granted, Mourinho has tried to prize defender John Stones from Everton, yet the Toffees are still holding out for £30 million after rejecting Chelsea's second offer of £26 million. Even a fee for left-back Baba Rahman is still to be agreed as Mourinho searches for a replacement for Felipe Luis.

Why Mourinho hasn't strengthened his squad is anyone's guess. It would be logical to think that a manger of Mourinho's experience and shrewdness would have made Chelsea an even tougher team to beat this season by signing more quality. This is yet to come to fruition though, and it could potentially be a result of owner Roman Abramovich deliberately reigning in spending this close-season. We still don't know.

The good news for Chelsea fans and Mourinho is that there is still time to buy before the window shuts at midnight on 31st August. It could yet make all the difference.

However, if no new faces arrive though the door then Chelsea could be the latest team to suffer from the temptation of complacency. Mourinho has every reason to be frustrated. 

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Topics:
Jose Mourinho
Football
Chelsea
Premier League

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