It’s fair to say that Chelsea have descended into full blown crisis. This is no longer a slump. They are 16th in the Premier League and there is absolutely no way they can win the title. It’s set to be the worse season the Blues have experienced since the ill-fated Andre Villas Boas era, and bar a massive turnaround in fortunes it will be just the second time in 12 years that they have finished outside the top three.
What makes it worse for Chelsea is that this looks to be one of the weakest leagues in years, a point proven by the poor showings in Europe so far and some of the turgid displays by teams apparently gunning for the title.
Jose Mourinho received the dreaded vote of confidence this week and that so often means the end for many a manager; Brendan Rodgers got his in August.
A seven minute aimless rant after the loss at home to Southampton did nothing to dampen the feeling that the Portuguese may just be losing the plot, and there is the very real prospect that he could be sacked by the club where just months ago he seemed untouchable.
Mourinho has to front-up and get Chelsea out of this hole if he is to protect his Stamford Bridge legacy. Here are the things the Special One must do to save his job.
Whether his insistence to stick with the ailing Serbian international is down to loyalty or arrogance, it has to end. Ivanovic has been one of the best defenders in the top-flight for the last three of four years but he looks so far over the hill that he can barely be seen.
His dire showing against Saints, where Sadio Mane ran him ragged, was just the latest in a long line of unacceptable performances and it seems everyone but his manager seems to have noticed.
Chelsea paid over £14m for Baba Rahman this summer and Mourinho insists that he is still ‘not ready’ as he only joined at the end of the window. He can’t be any worse than Ivanovic at present so swap Cesar Azpilicueta to the right and bring Rahman in at left-back.
Protect The Back Four
The secret to Chelsea’s success last season was not just the brilliance of Eden Hazard and the goals of Diego Costa, it was the effectiveness with which the midfield managed to shield the backline and prevent them from becoming isolated.
Nemanja Matic’s drop off in form has hurt them badly, and in turn that has left the defence in a world of trouble. If you isolate John Terry he is vulnerable, and it has been very easy to get in between the midfield and the defence this season.
Whether that means playing Mikel and Matic with Fabregas as a 10, or dropping Fabregas all together, they have to find a way to sure-up the middle of the pitch. Not signing a new holding midfielder looks a very bad decision.
Play John Terry
This may seem a strange one after the game that Terry had at the weekend. It was his mistake that let in Mane for the second goal at the Bridge but that was more to do with rustiness than anything else.
The former England captain is still the Blues best out-and-out defender but he has to be given a run in the team, he is not the sort of player who can be put in and out of the starting line-up on a regular basis.
If they sort out their midfield issues and start protecting the back four a bit better than Chelsea will find that their results will improve and Terry will be that lynchpin they crave once again.
Get Loic Remy On The Pitch
Radamel Falcao looks to have been Jose Mourinho’s Mario Balotelli project. Much like Brendan Rodgers’ belief that he could get something out of the Italian, Mourinho’s feeling he could save the Colombian have proved folly.
The once feared striker now looks a shadow of his former self and it looks as if he will never find his mojo, whilst he’s in England at least.
Remy, on the other hand, has been given very little chance to impress. The manager clearly doesn’t fancy the Frenchman, which is strange when you consider he has seven goals from seven league starts in a Blue shirt. He offers something totally different, in the form of pace, and that makes the team much less predictable.
Whether Jose thinks he is ill disciplined or not, he has to start getting the nod when Costa is unavailable or when the Pensioners need a goal.