Only four goals in four games. And an evil, evil loss. Is Chelsea already in trouble in this young English Premier League season?
Nope. Please settle down. It’s still summer and this movie doesn’t get good until next spring, blue-bloods. You should all know that by now. Just keep your pants on for the love of Drog.
Now it’s true that the Blues are off to their worst start in the Roman Abramovich era, but when we all woke up Saturday, Chelsea was actually undefeated in the league and the club is still Europa League champion and won the prestigious UEFA Champions League just one short year ago.
Funny what a loss can do to one’s head. Probably best to not buy cases of peanut butter and baked beans and build that bomb shelter just quite yet, brother.
So before you gather up the family and decide to head to Panic Island, maybe take a quick look at the EPL table and see that Chelsea (2-1-1) is tied with co-heavies Manchester United and Manchester City with seven points. You should also realize that Mancunian fans are having their own little silly crisis of confidence right now as well.
And if that doesn’t help, maybe pretend the draw at Old Trafford to the Red Devils was actually a loss and that Saturday’s 1-0 setback at Everton was a draw and you can see that the Blues are probably right where they should be all along.
Then, if you’re still depressed about your favorite football team losing a game on the road at a place in which it seldom wins, it may be best to call a doctor or become an Accrington Stanley fan or something. Your call there, Bubba.
Winning against the Toffees at Goodison Park has been a tough road to hoe for Chelsea over the last six seasons with the lads from West London only winning once—rallying last season to win 2-1 on two Frank Lampard goals—and losing four times, scoring just one time in those four league setbacks.
So try to remember that when Chelsea heads to Merseyside to play Everton next season.
But as far as questioning the Blues’ offense, it’s totally fair game. Especially in Premier League play. This calendar year, Chelsea has only scored more than two goals just three times in the league—in wins against Stoke City (4-0 on Jan. 12), Wigan Athletic (4-1 on Feb. 9) and Fulham (3-0 on Apr. 17).
Not too impressive considering the talents in the midfield and the proven ability of the Blues defenders to score. And Chelsea has yet to score on the road this season, although it has allowed just one away goal, Saturday’s late first-half score by Everton’s Steven Naismith on a goal kick.
So, thank God for goalkeeper Petr Cech and the defense, right? Right.
But to be fair, few teams in England’s top flight have really exploded so far offensively and only Arsenal (8), Manchester City (8), Manchester United (6) and Aston Villa (5) have scored more goals than Chelsea (4) so it may be a good idea to give the attack some time to click, especially with so many new working parts like Samuel Eto’o, Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and now Willian, on the roster.
So, as always seems to be the case of late, it’s Chelsea’s defense that is getting the job done. So far the Blues have allowed just two goals, with only Liverpool (0), Tottenham Hotspur (1) and West Ham (1) having allowed fewer heading into Monday.
But what does this all mean, if anything? It means the defense is solid as always and the team needs time to play together to gel on offense. It also means playmaker Juan Mata needs to get some more playing time and that there is still a problem at the striker position.
Hey, even Mourinho isn’t a miracle-worker, folks. Settle in. This is going to take some time and probably a bucket-load of patience.
And The Special One knows this is a work in progress and that sooner or later, it will all come together offensively, as quoted in Martin Lipton's Daily Mirror report on Sunday.
“We have to be effective, be adult and not naive," he said. “That is what we have to work on. We have to transform the beautiful football we played into goals.”
And he knows the loss to Everton was pretty much an exercise in futility.
“But Saturday was the story of a team with 21 shots that couldn’t score a goal. That is the beauty of football.”
So, 2013 definitely won’t be like 2004, and without a stud up top like Didier Drogba, this team may still suffer on offense, putting that much more pressure on the defense.
Putting young striker Romelu Lukaku out on loan again still seems like a mystery, especially considering Fernando Torres’ track record at Stamford Bridge, Demba Ba’s lackluster performances and Eto’o’s age and newness to the Premier League. So it will be up to guys like Mata, Eden Hazard, Lampard and Schurrle to produce for Chelsea to start scoring more goals in the immediate future.
So, no need to say the sky is falling yet after one 1-0 hard-fought road loss against a team that actually needed the win and the points more than the Blues. And, to put it into perspective, imagine the positive hype had Chelsea won Saturday, started out 3-1-0 in the EPL and not let Bayern Munich score that last-second goal in the Super Cup.
The myopic din would be unbearable. Thus is life in the modern world in which we now live, sadly. Everything is the end of the world all of a sudden, be it good or bad. In the end, it’s just one game, just one loss. So no need to crucify players on Twitter or in chat rooms every time an opponent scores a goal or Chelsea loses.
It happens. It’s sports. We should all be used to it by now, but with the advent of social media, it’s too easy now for so many to get bent out of shape over starting XI’s or transfers or hirings. And like I said, it’s still summer, so maybe wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to get your royal blue panties up in a bunch. At least it will be fall or winter by then.
One thing definitely worth worrying about but out of the club’s control is the play so far of fellow London-towners Arsenal (3-0-1) and Spurs (3-0-1) as well as Liverpool (3-0-0). All three look much stronger at this point in time—although their schedules have been weaker—and should be in the thick of the race along with the Chelsea, United and City.
The Reds can actually get off to the best start in league history Monday if they can beat Swansea City at Liberty Stadium in Wales (NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT). With former Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge clicking, Luis Suarez to eventually return and new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet being absolutely brilliant so far, this is truly a team to watch and probably fear.
And we all know how tough the Reds have played the Blues over the last several years.
But still, a little perspective is warranted. The league season has 38 games and only four have been played. This means that almost 90 percent of the season remains and, for Chelsea, the road games at United and Everton are already in the books.
And Chelsea’s next four league games (Fulham, Spurs, Norwich City and Cardiff City) are all winnable, and before the home meeting with City (Oct. 27), the Hype Wheel may have actually tilted to the over-positive direction.
Such is life these days. It’s hard to get used to, but a little easier to digest once one understands the nature of the ridiculous beast. A good way to look at it is to appreciate that winning the Premier League will still be extremely difficult—even with Mourinho—as will qualifying again for next year’s Champions League.
Please spread the word.