5 years ago, Chelsea was a club that wouldn’t dream of lifting the Champions League – and though they haven’t exactly lifted the Cup yet, they have been transformed into a European Powerhouse with the millions of Roman Abramovich.
The most expensive squad in the premier league – a team whose fourth choice centre back cost 10 million pounds (Branislav Ivanovic), a team that can afford to buy a player for 30 million quid and flog him off for nothing, but everything isn’t merry at the Bridge and there have been rumblings for a while. When Luiz Felipe Scolari took over at Chelsea, he brought in just one player – the Portuguese play-maker Deco. The first few weeks of Scolari’s reign made people fear Chelsea – their second string demolished Middlebrough away, and 4 or 5 goals in a game were fast becoming an often repeated recurrence.
Since Liverpool ended their 86 match unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea haven’t hit good form. Laboured performances in Europe, coupled with brash tackles and bad luck have led to their resources being depleted, but without a doubt, Scolari has the strongest and deepest squad in the premiership. Chelsea can bring a 17 million pound signing like Malouda off the bench, while Liverpool can bring on 5 million Benayoun , and Arsenal a 1 million Bendtner. With the squad they have, Chelsea should be top, and with Liverpool having dropped 8 points over the last 5 games- the question that must be asked is why?
1. Scolari’s rigidity to play his version of the 4-5-1, in which Mikel holds fort in front of the back four, with Deco, Ballack and Lampard doing the playmaking and the fullbacks bombing forwards and putting crosses in for the lone striker. The system worked well initially, but has to be changed as its not working. Drogba and Anelka are different enough to play together ( that sounds weird), but strikers need to be different to play together – if they make identical runs, they disrupt each others flow. Anelka can play off Drogba as he is one of the best target men in world football today. A 4-4-2 could be the answer to the troubles.
2. The persistence with Deco. Admittedly, he had a brilliant start to the campaign, but has been leggy in the past few games and could do with a rest for a few weeks. He, like most of Chelsea’s key players apart from Terry is on the wrong side of 30 and a rest could see him back to his best soon.
The fact is, a manager like Scolari should be doing better with the squad at his disposal. He recently asked for a dribbler – is it me or does he realize Joe Cole can dribble the ball well enough, and has a good end product too! Whatever it is, Chelsea need to sort their form out soon. They have the squad to do it all, but will they?
What is your take on the situation at Stamford Bridge? Do Chelsea need a few new signings to bolster their ambitions?