Chelsea hasn’t been convincing since the start of the 2017/18 season and our pundit analyses why the defending champions can’t contend for the title this time around.
Chelsea has been known for having intimidating squads since Roman Abramovic took ownership of the club. The likes of Petr Čech, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Diego Costa and John Terry just to mention a few, have donned the famous blue shirt but Chelsea hasn’t been able to make good acquisitions to replace the above-mentioned departures for whatever reason. However, Antonio Conte’s transfer policy leaves a lot to be desired. Which players are they really missing this season?
1. Diego Costa
If there’s any player who managed to fill the void that was left by the departure of the legendary Didier Drogba to Galatasaray, it’s Diego Costa. Drogba would later re-join the Blues but be limited to sporadic performances due to Costa’s sizzling goalscoring form.
The Spaniard netted an impressive 52 goals in 89 league appearances in his three seasons with the Blues and won two league titles in the process. His sour relationship with Antonio Conte forced him out of the team and in came Alvaro Morata who was a bench warmer at Real Madrid ever since they bought him back from Juventus.
Morata is a great finisher but nowhere near the two strikers’ level and this season he has been missing one on one situations like never before. Finding the back of the net has been one of Chelsea’s main problems and Morata is the main culprit. The frantic search for a striker from enquiring about Peter Crouch’s availability to pursuing Edin Džeko, to being associated with Ashley Barnes resulted in the team signing Olivier Giroud from crosstown rivals, Arsenal, and it remains to be seen if he meets expectations.
2. Nemanja Matic
When Chelsea acquired the services of Tiémoué Bakayoko from Monaco, they thought Nemanja Matic would be surplus to their requirements due to the hype surrounding the French midfielder, but the decision has backfired.
The youngster at the tender age of 23 lacks experience and still needs to adapt to the league where the Serb is a proven, seasoned campaigner. To add insult to injury, Matic joined Manchester United where he is doing so well. When you think about Chelsea midfielders of the past, the likes of Claude Makelele, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and many others, you know that the only current midfielder who can be mentioned in the same bracket is N’golo Kante. I can’t understand the decision to sign Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater to try and remedy the situation.
3. John Terry
The most successful Chelsea generation had always been characterised by one man. He wore the captain’s armband and he’s called “Mr Chelsea”. That’s none other than John Terry who has been a wall in their defence. With the legend ageing and set to depart or retire, they tried several future replacements like Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma but they couldn’t fill the big boots.
Conte recalled Andreas Christensen from a loan spell at Borussia Mönchengladbach and signed Antonio Rüdiger who are very promising youngsters but they haven’t reached Terry’s level yet even though they have potential, while 32-year old Gary Cahill is also reaching the twilight of his career.