Oscar, Hazard and Mata Start, but Chelsea Still Lacking Bite

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Oscar, Hazard and Mata Start, but Chelsea Still Lacking Bite
Warren Little/Getty Images

STAMFORD BRIDGE, LONDON—Cue analogies of broken records, as right now, it's the same stories spinning out of Chelsea.

The Blues came away with a 1-0 victory against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day to maintain their title challenge, but three points gained will again be overshadowed by a lack of goals in a game where the Blues should have scored more.

Jose Mourinho started Chelsea's Three Amigos—Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata—together for the first time since Dec. 1, when he saw his team defeat Southampton 3-1. But not even they could help Chelsea's continuing failure to kill teams off.

It was Hazard who scored the game's deciding goal after 29 minutes, with Samuel Eto'o, Ramires and Oscar all guilty at various stages of not ensuring this was a more comfortable win.

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Mourinho saw it somewhat differently, however.

"Today it was different," he explained, referring to his team's poor form in front of goal. "The lack of goals was due to their goalkeeper. He played very well [...] We didn’t miss, the goalkeeper made fantastic saves."

Gerhard Tremmel did perform well for the visitors, yet it doesn't disguise the fact a more clinical strike force would have dispatched Swansea far more efficiently.

Eto'o was preferred to Fernando Torres, and his inclusion only served to highlight his continued struggles following another limp display that will not exactly strike fear into Chelsea's title rivals.

Clive Rose/Getty Images

He was gifted a chance by Juan Mata midway through the first half to score his first Premier League goal since Nov. 9, but he could only hit a tame effort at the goalkeeper. After the interval, it was more of the same, with another effort that bounced wide.

For a player of his reputation, the Cameroonian needs to be delivering more.

That said, his movement, at times, was impressive, creating space for himself only for his teammates not to exploit it, which was as frustrating for Chelsea fans as it was their striker.

Whether Chelsea's attacking midfielders are confident or not, he will dispatch his opportunities, and serving a different agenda in front of goal is a notion that needs to be addressed, as the Blues' predicament cannot continue much longer.

Warren Little/Getty Images

Chelsea need to discover their scoring touch—fast. If not, they will be cut adrift in the title race and potentially from the top four, as those around them are beginning to find consistency.

"My feeling was that at halftime, we should be relaxed with a comfortable result," Mourinho observed when asked on how he was feeling.

It wasn't lost on him that up next for his team is Liverpool on Sunday, and failure to take their chances against the in-form Reds will result in only one thing.

"This team kills me," added the manager. "Every game I die."

It will be more than Mourinho's feelings taking a beating if Chelsea's killer instinct doesn't improve.

 

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes

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