It has to be said, Chelsea have begun the new Premier League season in scintillating form. The likes of Frank Lampard, Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres have been in fine fettle; whilst the new addition from Lille, Eden Hazard, has been outstanding, contributing with one goal and six assists in his three Premier League appearances thus far.
Although there is a very promising and confident feeling around Stamford Bridge at the moment, is this success built on strong foundations? Or, will we see Roman Abramovich grab the headlines once more for a rash managerial decision when Chelsea’s performances have a seasonal decline?
There is no doubt that Abramovich’s interest in Chelsea is at its peak after the Champions League triumph in Munich. Vast amounts of investment have resulted moves for Eden Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta to bolster the Blues’ squad. The midfield quality that now exists at Chelsea is unequalled by any other side, even with the deadline day departure of Michael Essien. The quality in depth that Chelsea possess must be extremely exciting for Chelsea fans.
However, it can be suggested that their most influential player last season, who left the club in the most recent transfer window, has not been replaced.
Didier Drogba was an iconic figure at the West London club, and his departure has left a large void to fill by the so far unimpressive Torres. Although Torres has scored two goals in the opening three games of the season, his form for Chelsea since his switch from Liverpool in 2011 will surely be cause for concern as the transfer window slammed shut.
Chelsea were, and continue to be strongly linked with Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, and his hat-trick against the Blues in the European Super Cup on August 31 surely added salt to the wound, with Di Matteo labeling the player 'dangerous' when given space and time to attack.
This sort of acquisition would have provided essential competition for Torres throughout the season, but as it stands, there is not a recognised striker of similar caliber in the Chelsea squad, with Daniel Sturridge and Victor Moses very much considered wingers.
Another lingering problem for Di Matteo is Pep Guardiola. Chelsea made no secret of their pursuit of the previous Barcelona manager over the summer, suggesting that even the supply of a Champions League trophy from the former midfielder may not be enough to persuade the Chelsea hierarchy that he is the long-term future of the club.
Although, according to The Daily Mail, Guardiola is fearful of Abramovich’s demand for instant success, preferring to take on a 'long-term project', rumours still suggest that a move for Guardiola will re-surface at the end of the season, or sooner if Chelsea’s recent form does not prove consistent.
A final potential concern was the performance in the European Super Cup final against Atletico, with Chelsea ripped apart by Facao and Co. Gary Cahill, in an interview with Sky Sports, stated that Chelsea “fell to pieces” and were “below par” throughout the match, which ended 4-1. This sudden drop in form and concentration has most definitely brought Chelsea fans crashing down from their heaven aligned highs.
These factors combined infer that Chelsea’s success is on very fragile ground. The volatility and spontaneity of owner Abramovich combined with the strong dependence for goals on a singular striker mean that Chelsea’s early glory may be short-lived.
When the Russian spends money, he expects very rapid results. A precedence proven throughout his time at Chelsea as he’s waded through various managers like cannon fodder; Carlo Ancelotti, Luis Felipe Scolari and Andre Villas Boas all falling victim to Roman’s high expectations. We are yet to see if Di Matteo will join this list.
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