With Jose Mourinho now stripped of his role at Stamford Bridge, the autopsy of Chelsea’s catastrophic start to the season has commenced.
Choking in mid-table and with treble the amount of losses they suffered last season; this term has proved nothing short of a tragedy for Blues fans.
There can be little doubt the blame for Chelsea’s debacle far from rests with an individual. The players, Mourinho and the club’s activity in the summer transfer window all conspired towards the shortcomings of this season.
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However, one move - although minor - may have aided the Blues’ turmoil and if the matter had been treated differently, could have contributed to Chelsea avoiding the defeats that have thronged their campaign.
2014-15 saw the return of Didier Drogba to Stamford Bridge and the veteran Ivorian played a crucial role in Chelsea’s Premier League victory.
With vital goals against Leicester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, Drogba defied his age to spearhead Mourinho’s domestic offensive. The club legend proved a more than adequate backup in the absence of Diego Costa and Loic Remy.
Despite this, his sobering and inspirational influence proved the most pivotal outcome of his return. It is this dressing room presence that saw his departure in the summer prove particularly costly.
It is unclear as to how much of a say Chelsea had in Drogba’s departure, but there can be little doubting that the Blues should have displayed greater desire to hold onto him.
His experience and nous around the squad has been sorely missed this campaign. Letting the 37-year-old slip through the club’s fingers has proven a glaring error.
Experience is vital when the chips are down in the Premier League and Chelsea have come up short in that department this season.
The recent departures of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and Didier Drogba himself have seen the club absent of veterans.
John Terry, of course, brings experience to the table but after playing every second of last season, the Englishman has been sapped of all the fitness he had left to offer.
It may not have propelled Chelsea to the top of the table, not even the top four, but if Drogba had been retained they would not be dwelling in fifteenth place.
Chelsea’s players have simply been embarrassingly this season. If Drogba was in the dressing room he would have fired up the squad because it is not in his nature to sit back and watch his beloved club crumble.
The Blues have needed this passionate influence. Drogba would not have accepted teammates flinging bibs at their manager nor displaying such a blatant lack of effort with a Chelsea badge on their chest.
Even if Drogba didn’t play a single second of game time, he would have at least galvanised Chelsea to a better position than they currently find themselves in.
Of course, however, at the age of 37, the Ivorian is desperate to lap up all the game time he can muster before his career comes to a close. Drogba would, of course, not be attracted by the prospect of collecting cobwebs on the Chelsea bench.
However, the convenience of hindsight discerns that, looking back, retaining Drogba could have proven crucial in the Blues evading turmoil.
Someone needs to take a stand in the Chelsea dressing room, it is not acceptable that a club of such pedigree is withering so unanimously on the big stage. The damage has already been done, but someone has to step up and fill the large Drogba-shaped void or the decline will continue.
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