World Football: Top 5 Reasons Chelsea Have Been Feeling Blue
It's no secret—Chelsea Football Club have underachieved this season.
Currently, the West London club are fifth place in the EPL and are on the outside looking in at the last Champions League qualifying spot for next year. On Tuesday night they will host Manchester United, in a critical tie that will undoubtedly dictate the remainder of their season.
Why are the Blues struggling? How have they fallen to a Europa League spot? Can Carlo Ancelotti turn this campaign around?
5. Distractions, Turmoil and Speculation
During this season, Chelsea have had many distractions and detrimental issues not related to on-the-pitch happenings.
Carlo Ancelotti has been badgered for months with questions pertaining to his job security, with questions arising as to whether or not he will resign due to Chelsea's poor form.
There is also the continued speculation of potential transfers, including Kaka for Didier Drogba. And how will Chelsea be able to sign young strikers like Neymar or the Belgian phenom Romelu Lukaku and Sergio "El Kun" Aguero from Atletico?
In addition to that, Ashley Cole has had well documented off the field issues with a woman. Now, according to a report last week, he shot a 21-year-old Chelsea intern with an .22 caliber air rifle from point blank, by accident.
4. Tactics and Formations
Carlo has yet to figure out how to properly utilize Fernando "El Nino" Torres and Didier Drogba on the pitch at the same time, if it's even possible.
One is withdrawn out wide and the other often has to retreat deep in the midfield to retain possession. Both want to play central and spear-head the attack(as they have both have become accustomed to in their careers) but have been lack-luster together.
The three striker formation has not been effective—the Liverpool game serves as a prime example.
Drogba has scored 141 goals in 239 starts for the Blues up front. Even though Torres just cost Roman Abramovich £50 million a few weeks ago, Carlo needs to remember how vital and productive Drogba has been for the last six years. Plus, he's outscored Torres in the last two seasons by a 12-goal margin.
I'm not writing off Torres in that he's incapable of playing with Drogba. It is, however, a dilemma that needs to be resolved quickly.
They are two of the best strikers in world football, and both need to be on the pitch.
3. Home Form
The days of Jose Mourinho going unbeaten at home in the league are a distant memory now for Chelsea supporters.
Stamford Bridge has not been the tremendous advantage this season as it was in years past. The Blues have already lost three games at the Bridge this season, including a horrific display against Sunderland where they were pounded 3-0 on Nov. 14th.
They also haven't brought their "A" game on the biggest stages against the other "Big Four." So far this season, the Blues lost to United when they played in the Community Shield to kick-off the year. Then they lost to Arsenal at the Emirates, and Liverpool have already beat them twice. Then you throw in another 1-0 loss at Manchester City early in the season, and it's no wonder why they're sitting at fifth.
There is no doubt Manchester United will not be intimidated as they travel to the Bridge on Tuesday night.
2. Injuries, Age
It's no secret Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and John Terry aren't getting any younger. But age and experience is always a remarkable advantage. Inter Milan were the oldest team in the Champions League last season, and it turned out okay for them.
But this season has offered up nagging injuries to Chelsea's stars that have prohibited them from consistency and long periods of good form. Drogba has also had a nasty bout with malaria that has lingered for over a month.
These superstars aren't recovering like they used to, and their injuries have caused holes in the formation for Carlo Ancelotti.
1. Ray Wilkins
Ray Wilkins was an tremendous replacement for Steve Clarke after Clarke decided to depart for West Ham in 2008. Ray Wilkins had been a former Chelsea captain, as well as coach. Wilkins had been the Assistant to Luiz Scolari, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti.
He was totally surprised and devastated by his dismissal in early November 2010. It also caused disruption and speculation, but there was no disagreement between him and Carlo, according to reports. It was simply that his contract was up and wouldn't be renewed. It showed the cut-throat way the Blues do business.
Wilkins was ideal for dealing with and helping foreign managers in the English game. He played a pivotal role in helping Ancelotti adapt to life in England and Premier League football when he arrived in the summer of 2009.
Immediately after Wilkins was sacked, Chelsea would win only one of their next eight EPL games, a 1-0 at home against Bolton. The seven game winless Premier League streak was one of the lowest points for Chelsea in the last decade and has directly resulted in their fifth place spot in the table.