Chelsea Weekly: Living In Interesting Times

Andrew KearneyCorrespondent INovember 16, 2010

Chelsea players against Sunderland.
Chelsea players against Sunderland.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

There is an old Chinese proverb that states, "May you live in interesting times."

This is far from a blessing, it is a curse. And sad to say, Chelsea have been living in interesting times for the past ten days.

The start came at Anfield last Sunday. Liverpool have been struggling this season and striker Fernando Torres had been unable to hit the proverbial cow's behind with a banjo.

Liverpool duly won 2-0 with both goals being scored by Torres.

A day later, it emerged that star striker Didier Drogba had been suffering from a mild case of malaria.

Wednesday night saw Chelsea victorious over neighbours Fulham 1-0 but had Michael Essien sent off meaning he will miss the next three matches.

Thursday brought the shock news that assistant manager Ray Wilkins was to leave the club. Wilkins was allegedly told the news at half-time during a reserve team fixture.

Fans were then treated to the news midfielder Frank Lampard, already absent from the side since late August, would miss at least another three weeks due to injury.

Sunday brought news that captain John Terry would miss the Sunderland fixture due to an injury suffered in training.

However fans still had cause to be optimistic Chelsea would conquer their north-east opponents. They had won the last eleven games between the two sides and the aggregate score of Sunderland's last two visits to Stamford Bridge was 12-2.

Chelsea lost 0-3 in what manager Carlo Ancelotti described as 'the worst performance in my time here.' It was hard to disagree.

The misery doesn't end there though. John Terry's injury appears to have been worse then initially suspected and will likely be out of action for an indefinite period of time.

Reports are also coming through that fellow centre-back Alex, another absentee in recent weeks, will also be out for 6-8 weeks.

All is not doom and gloom though. Chelsea are still top of the league and are comfortably through to the next round of the Champions League.

Any side will miss having players of the quality of Alex, Terry, Essien and Lampard in their team. What is important is how Chelsea react to their absence.

A player who will likely play a key role in the coming weeks is young, Jeffrey Bruma.

For all his attributes, Paolo Ferraira is not a centre-back as shown vividly on Sunday. Bruma is a centre-back and whats more his performances as such have already brought him to the attention of the Dutch national side.

Ancelotti's needs to show faith in the young man and put him in the starting line-up.

Though it is true to say that it is due to the current lack of central defensive options that the manager is being forced in to this situation it is likely this could be beneficial to both Bruma and Chelsea in the long term future.

The absences in the midfield will likely give more game time to young prospect Josh McEachran as he picks up more valuable experience playing in the first team.

Whether Ray Wilkins absence on Sunday was a key factor is debatable. Wilkins was well respected and there is likely to have been some surprise within the squad. The tactics and team selection however would almost certainly have remained the same and it hardly seems likely there would have been a major influx of new ideas to the team as occurs with managerial changes.

In the upcoming weeks, Chelsea will need to be brave and they need to be bold.

And then hopefully they can leave these interesting times behind them.