Chelsea have made a solid start to their second era under Jose Mourinho averaging two points a game in the league and after two big away wins in Europe sit top of group E in the Champions league. On the surface it looks fine for Chelsea but is there underlying thought that Mourinho’s arrogance has made them considerably weaker this season.
The Pensioners enjoyed a fantastic October winning every game including Manchester City at home and winning away at the Emirates in the league cup. However, one thing that must worry every Chelsea fan is the lack of goals that the current strikers are providing. Fernando Torres has just one league goal to his name this season as does Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba is yet to register in the competition. It begs the question as to why Mourinho was so against giving Romelu Lukaku a bigger role in the team this season and not freezing him out of the side. The moment the special one arrived in London it was clear that a striker was on his mind as he brought in an ageing Eto’o so that he could allow the Belgian to be loaned out for the second season running. The 20-year-old scored 17 goals for West Bromwich Albion last season which included a devastating hat-trick against the champions in just 45 minutes. The Belgian has continued his sublime form this year at Everton netting five league goals in eight games averaging a goal every 100 minutes. Lukaku has only started five of these matches and now that Torres is going to miss the next two games Mourinho will have to utilise his midfield options.
The Blues current top scorers are Oscar and Eden Hazard and history tells you that most sides that have won the Premier league had a striker that scores you 20-30 goals in the division alone. The stunning decision to drop Juan Mata is one that has shocked fans across the world as he had been arguably Chelsea’s best player for the last two seasons. He was the spark that single handily won games for Chelsea last season scoring eleven goals and assisting 17 times in his 35 league games. Having sat on the bench three times already this season and missed the game against Fulham it is impossible for him to play the games he did last season and Mourinho has to take some criticism for his disjointed performances. Mata insists that he has not lost faith in the club or manager but I for one believe that a player of his ability will feel that he should be one of the first names on the team sheet for most sides in Europe. He will also realise that if he is missing games at club level this will have a serious affect on his chances of making the Spain side for Brazil in 2014.
One can only begin to imagine how Chelsea fans would have reacted to these two decisions if Rafa Benitez had been in charge at the time. The Spaniard had his critics at Chelsea but he did bring home the Europa cup and is now proving his credentials with a successful start to his Napoli career.
It’s clear that Mourinho wants to develop Oscar and judging by his performances in the league and Europe it is working. Regardless, Mata is too good a player to drop and after some uninspiring performances from Andre Schurrle I’d fully expect Mata to regain his place for good. The influx of new players will take time and the likes of Schurrle, Willian and Eto’o will surely develop as we get further into the campaign. As an admirer of Chelsea I just hope that Mourinho’s stubbornness and arrogance doesn't affect the Blues chance of winning the title this season.