One of the biggest stories of 2015 was Chelsea’s woes, both on and off the pitch. After the sacking of Jose Mourinho, results are starting to turn around. They have gone from losing to Bournemouth to beating Crystal Palace by three goals. A pretty remarkable turn around. Does this mean the Chelsea of old are back? Well, yes and no.
I say no, because they won’t be challenging for the title this season. Considering how poor they were in the first half of the season, their goal for now should be to get into the Top 8 and build towards next season.
But in a greater sense, Chelsea seem to have regained their swagger and stability. Since Mourinho left his post, Chelsea have scored 8 goals (an average of 2 goals a game) and allowed 3 (less than a goal per game). They also have averaged 56% possession in each of the four games and 4.5 shots on target per game. Going even deeper, we can see that Chelsea have averaged 507 passes in the last four games, and 662.25 average touches of the ball per game. These figures are staggeringly better than they had been in the first half of the season. Simply put, Chelsea have been more dominant and more influential in the games they have played. This shows that a weight has clearly been lifted off of Chelsea’s shoulders, and bodes well for them for the rest of the season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them break back into the Top 10 shortly and remain there for the rest of the season. They will almost certainly be back challenging for the Top 4 next season. In this sense, Chelsea are back.
Issues remain, however. Sacking Mourinho may have lifted the squad right now, but the same players that performed terribly are still there. These are players that lacked motivation, heart, and commitment. While some of the blame falls correctly to Mourinho, so much more must be put on the players. These are players that threw a fit and forced out one of the best managers in world soccer. These are players that didn’t have the professional pride, let alone respect for the club and supporters, to even half-ass their way through games. Everybody has caught on to their act at this point, leaving Chelsea with an important decision to make. Do they allow player power to continue to run rampant at the club, and bring in a manager that satisfies the players? If they do that, results might immediately pick up, but who’s to say that doesn’t happen again. Their other option is to cut out the cancer, and start fresh. The problem with that option is you can’t have a fire sale and get rid of all of your players.
Make no mistake, Chelsea is back, but they need to do some soul searching to make sure they remain there.