Having made a turbulent start to this Season, Jose Mourinho is lucky that the Chelsea fanbase is still behind him. In the past, Chelsea managers were sacked for wrongdoing. However, none of them could be compared with the catastrophe through which Chelsea are going at the moment. Thus, owing to his history at the club that boasts of winning 8-major titles, Jose Mourinho is getting more than his share of time at Stamford Bridge.
If you want to identify the gray areas in this Chelsea team, there has been a significant number of players whose form has gone down the drain this Season. These players are the reason for the downfall of Chelsea, and if Chelsea wants to get back to winning ways, these players should perform more consistently.
Here are 5 Chelsea Players who need to meet the fans’ expectations this Season.
1. Eden Hazard
A player whose entire Season could best be described by his performance against Liverpool, Eden Hazard is that player who has fallen from the heights of grace this Season. Last Season having scored 14 goals – not to mention the 3 assists that he managed as well, Eden Hazard was on the way to becoming a Chelsea Legend.
At this stage last Season after the completion of 11 matches in the Premier League, the Belgian had scored 3 goals with an assist. When you compare that form with this Season, Hazard is still looking for his first goal of the Campaign.
While he has managed more assists after 11 matches this time around, the Belgian should realize that it will be his goal-scoring form that would perch Chelsea on top. Chelsea would afford any other player to play the role of a playmaker, however with Hazard, the Blues expect him to finish off the moves and not create them.
One area that epitomizes why Hazard has underperformed this Season is his shot accuracy. According to famous stats site “Squawka”, Hazard managed a shot accuracy of 59% last Season with that dipping to 44% this time around. This gap of 15% in shot accuracy is evident every time he steps onto the pitch.
Chance conversion rate is another area where the Belgian is lagging behind this Season. Throughout his career at Chelsea before this Season, the least chance to goal conversion ratio Hazard managed was 21%. That means approximately one goal from five shots on target. As you might expect, his chance conversion rate is zero this Season with the Belgian still waiting to score his first goal.
Thus, while Mourinho is getting his share of the blame coming from the neutral, Eden Hazard cannot hide behind his boss as his form has been more responsible for the downfall of Chelsea.
2. Diego Costa
From turning over-weight in the pre-season training – to getting needless sending offs, it is safe to say that taking responsibility is not a word that Diego Costa is very fond of. Since signing for Chelsea last Season, Costa has never been sent off. However, that is just part of the story. He has missed more than 10 matches for the reigning Premier League Champions, all of which came down as a result of TV Replays.
Comparing his with Suarez is very easy, as there are many similarities like a bullish attitude and the enemy number 1 of the opposition. However, one thing which distinguishes Costa from Suarez is the way he learns from his mistakes.
At the end of 2012/13 Season, Suarez received a ban from the FA after his bite-gate. Buzzing to prove his case, Suarez returned the following Season and clinched the Golden Boot Award after scoring 31 goals in the League. Now take a look at Costa, who was banned for 3 matches after his stamp on Liverpool player Martin Skrtel.
Since coming back from that 3 match suspension at the start of this year, Costa has scored just 5 goals for Chelsea in the League in 16 appearances. While these stats look good for a player who is playing in a mid-table side, Chelsea cannot afford Costa to be so lousy in front of goal.
In addition to his attitude, there is one more thing that has hurt Costa this Season: injuries. Suarez was never on the treatment table – not even once for Liverpool, however, for a man who always looks to initiate a fight, Diego Costa has a fragile body. Every Premier League defender sees him as the man to go after, and suffering from injuries; Costa has been unable to replicate his early Season form of last Season.
Thus, if the Spaniard could keep himself away from injuries and controversies at the same time, it is more than likely that Chelsea would at least challenge for a top 4 position this Season.
3. Nemanja Matic
Being awarded as the Serbian Player of the year in 2014, Nemanja Matic has showed why Chelsea traded him for Frank Lampard. Most Chelsea fans know that Matic was on the payroll of the club from 2009-11. However, with Frank Lampard shining, Matic was loaded off.
He came back with a bang last season. However, the current Season has been a disaster for the Serbian. Fans have turned up against him in numbers and for Jose Mourinho – a man who has no sympathy for under-performers, Matic is looking useless.
A player who was linked with a move away from Chelsea in the whole of last summer, it seems that a move away from the Bridge would have been more suitable for the Brazilian. Juventus signed Cuadrado when Chelsea refused to sell Oscar, and the Colombian is outshining Oscar with his performances currently.
5. Cesc Fabregas
While many Barcelona fans turned up against their team last Season seeing the performances of Fabregas, this season might have given them a clear picture on why the Catalan club allowed Fabregas to depart. He was dubbed as the successor of Iniesta and Xavi but with his current form, Cesc Fabregas cannot even find a place in the Arsenal midfield.