It seems as if all is not well at Chelsea at the moment, yes they may have beaten Norwich in the F.A. Cup on Wednesday night (more on that a bit) but this is certainly not the swashbuckling side that won the Premier League last season.
Much has been made of the fact that by selling Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic has made the first eleven weaker and as a consequence the defending league champions have been left in the dust of Manchester City this season but even if you compare the personnel form last this season to this it is arguably the decline of somebody else which is causing the biggest issues.
That being manager Antonio Conte, if the turn of the year is meant to bring good fortune and prosperity then the former Italy boss must have been at the back of the queue when it was getting dished out at the start of the month. It is fair to say that 2018 has been an annus horribilis for the man in the Stamford Bridge hotseat.
Chelsea are yet to win a game in ninety minutes since 2017 expired, admittedly they have not lost a game either so if you are a happy clapper you can always point to the club’s ‘electrifying’ unbeaten streak but they have definitely lost their spark, especially in attack.
If Alvaro Morata is meant to be an intelligent striker, then right now he looks pretty thick. I think he has misunderstood the English phrase ‘a night in with the missus’ as countless opportunities have been spurned the former Real Madrid forward as of late.
He looks like a player disheveled of confidence and is now resorting to underhanded tactics in the box in a bid to score goals, one that massively backfired against Norwich when after being booked for diving by referee Graham Scott he was then promptly sent off after talking his way into a second yellow just seconds after.
Then again his compatriot Pedro is no saint either as he also was sent off for two bookable offences and like Morata one them was due to the fact that he hauled himself down to the ground in a bid to win penalty, to be honest it was quite embarrassing and it is a shame that he got booked and not had to then suffer a retrospective ban of two matches.
As things stand the pair of them only miss one game but you could argue had the team performed better a few days ago then they would not have had to resort to such cheap tactics, certainly in the case of Morata as there would have been no need for Extra Time.
So the question has to be asked as to why Chelsea are playing so poorly as of late and more importantly why is Conte getting caught in this ongoing war of words with Jose Mourinho. Is the latter the reason for the former, it seems too much of a coincidence for it not to be.
Much has also been made of the fact that Chelsea and Antonio Conte could well part ways at the end of the season, has the Italian already chucked in the towel knowing that his fate has already been confirmed. Even if it hasn’t yet failure to finish in the top four will mean that his Stamford Bridge tenure will not go into a third season.
I’m not saying Conte is actively trying to get himself sacked but he is acting much more erratic this season than he did last not to mention that the whole world currently seems to be against him, the only way to stop the whinging is to start the winning.
As for VARce (c Dan Tracey 2018) we witnessed when Willian should have had a clear penalty, well you only have to refer to last week’s column to know my feelings on this new age of footballing technology. If anything this just solidifies my point even further.
Until next week.