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Five signs that all is not well at Chelsea

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It was just three months ago that Jose Mourinho's Chelsea lifted the Premier League title at Stamford Bridge. Yet here we are, two games in to the new season and the Blues find themselves in 16th place.

Suddenly a team that looked virtually invincible last season is starting to crack under the pressure. A disappointing pre-season, Community Shield defeat and now a 3-0 drubbing by Manchester City mean the problems are beginning to mount up for Mourinho.

So what's changed in the last few months? Here are five signs that all is not well at Chelsea.

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EVA CARNEIRO INCIDENT

Chelsea's underwhelming performance on the opening day of the season was overshadowed by Jose Mourinho's spat with club doctor Eva Carneiro. The now infamous incident dominated the media in the build up to Chelsea's clash with Manchester City. Mourinho is well known for pinning the blame on others during troubling times but this was extreme even by his standards.

To publicly criticise your medical team for essentially doing their jobs was ridiculous. Mourinho is no stranger to losing his cool but this incident appeared to be a tell-tale sign of a man under pressure. After all, it's been plain sailing since he returned to Chelsea, now all the problems have come at once. Of course many, including myself, thought the whole thing might have been a tactic to divert attention away from his teams poor performance. However if it was indeed a move to relieve the pressure on his players it quite clearly failed as Chelsea froze at the Etihad on Sunday.

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BRANISLAV IVANOVIC IS LOOKING HIS AGE

Chelsea's Serbian right-back has undoubtedly been one of the Premier League's top defenders over the last few seasons. He's become famous for his defensive qualities but also his brilliance in attack. The 31-year-old scored an impressive four goals last season and many assumed that he would pick up from where he left off this season. This quite clearly hasn't been the case.

Ivanovic looked rusty during pre-season, but this was acceptable and not overly concerning. Unfortunately for Chelsea he has carried that rustiness into the new season. Swansea's Jefferson Montero gave him the run around on the opening day of the season and he fared little better against City. The right-back who was simply outstanding last season has looked slow and sluggish recently and is really beginning to look his age. Could Cesar Azpilicueta revert to right-back with new signing Abdul Baba Rahman on the opposite side?

JUAN CUADRADO SIGNING

When Columbian winger Juan Cuadrado arrived for £27 million back in January, Chelsea fans were excited to see where he would fit into their team. Seven months later and we're all still trying to figure out just where he fits in. Mourinho doesn't seem to have an answer to the question either. Despite signing the Fiorentina winger for nearly £30 million Cuadrado has made a mere four starts and nine substitute appearances.

It's baffling why the club would pay such a hefty fee for a player only to leave him on the bench for much of the season. Mourinho quite clearly rates Willian more that Cuadrado. This really begs the question, why did he buy the Columbian? Granted he's failed to impress during substitute appearances but he's hardly been given a fair chance at Chelsea.

Perhaps it wasn't Mourinho's signing. Roman Abramovich has meddled in Chelsea's transfer business in the past. Andriy Shevchenko was a player reportedly unwanted by Mourinho that Abramovich signed during the Portuguese's first spell at the club. Is the same happening again?

SUBBING JOHN TERRY

Mourinho had never subbed John Terry in the Premier League until he pulled the Chelsea captain at half time on Sunday. It was a totally unexpected decision. The 34-year-old is another who performed excellently last season but has struggled at the start of the new campaign. The Chelsea manager has insisted that it was a purely tactical decision but there is surely more to it than that.

If you're trailing at the Etihad you don't sub off you captain. Bringing off the Englishman was Mourinho's way of sending a message to the owner. This wasn't a deliberate attempt to make Terry a scapegoat and by no means spells the end of his career. It was simply Mourinho's way of signalling to Abramovich that Chelsea need defensive reinforcements.

PURSUIT OF JOHN STONES

Everton were reported to have rejected a £30 million bid from Chelsea for John Stones on Tuesday. This was The Blues third bid for the centre-back after previously tabling offers of £20 million and £25 million. We all know that English talent commands a premium price but £30 million is an incredible amount of money regardless.

Stones has just 46 Premier League appearances to his name. Though he's firmly established himself in the Everton team, at 21-years-old he's far from the finished article. That's not to say he wouldn't be a good signing, just that he'd be a rather expensive one.

The fact that Chelsea have bid three times for the youngster seems to suggest a loss of confidence in his usual back four. It's probably safe to assume Chelsea' pursuit of the player would be over by now if they'd recorded two clean sheets at the start of the new season. However Chelsea's defensive fragilities have shown that new recruits are required to sure things up. Stones is without doubt a tremendous talent but which of Chelsea's centre-halves is going to lose out if he signs?

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Topics:
Jose Mourinho
Football
Juan Cuadrado
John Terry
Juan Cuadrado
Chelsea
Premier League
Branislav Ivanovic

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