To understand why Jose Mourinho’s men have started the season so poorly, you need look no further than his centre-back pairing.
The Chelsea boss has shuffled and substituted his centre-backs, switching between partnerships of Terry/Cahill, Cahill/Zouma and Terry/Zouma. Despite the fact both Terry and Cahill made the PFA Team of the Year for 2014/15, they are yet to play a full 90 minutes together since the first day of the season.
The Chelsea captain played every minute of the Premier League last year but has played only 278 of a possible 450 minutes this season. His centre-back partners Cahill and Zouma have played 204 and 315 minutes, respectively.
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During this period, Chelsea have conceded 11 goals – more than any other team in the league. Contrast that to Manchester City whose centre-back pairing of Kompany and Mangala have both played every minute of the season thus far and are yet to concede a goal in England's elite division.
Mourinho saw the problem brewing this summer, making numerous attempts to sign the ever impressive John Stones.
Instead, Chelsea signed Papy Djilobodji from Nantes and Michael Hector from Reading in what both seemed desperate and badly researched signings on deadline day.
Mourinho has admitted that Djilobodji wasn’t his signing and has left the Senegalese man out of his Champions League squad. Hector has returned to Reading on loan.
In contrast, Manuel Pellegrini has Nicolas Otomendi sitting on his bench. The champions are already 11 points off Manchester City with only five games gone and, until Mourinho fixes his centre-back problem, this gap looks set to widen.
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