Chelsea FC: Is This the Great Slump II for the Blues?

Hemant Dua@hemant_duaCorrespondent IINovember 25, 2011

Not again
Not again

I saw it against Man United. I saw it against Arsenal. I feared the same ahead of a crunch game against Liverpool at the Bridge.

Just like other Chelsea fans following proceedings last Sunday, I watched my club yet again fail to get the basics of defense right and succumb to defeat against their opponents from Merseyside.

Saying that the Blues' defense has hit new lows wouldn't be far from the truth. Never in all these years since Roman Abramovich's takeover have the Blues been this dreadful at the back.

So, from a Chelsea perspective, when Bayer Leverkusen come along and grab a stoppage-time winner thanks to a serious misjudgement by the usually reliable Petr Cech, it's not funny one bit.

Now, to pinpoint any single individual as responsible for this wouldn't be fair. But each member of the back four has to take some of the blame for the pathetic defensive displays seen recently, and the late goals shipped in. The same goes for Cech and whoever occupies the holding midfield slot.

Andre Villas-Boas must also be held responsible since he persists with a high defensive line despite it becoming abundantly clear that it's not working as he wants it to.

Take a glimpse at the two English veterans, John Terry and Ashley Cole, who have been the pillars of the back line for quite a few years. To be honest, they have been nowhere near their world-class selves, and their role in the recent disasters must be acknowledged.

Then there are David Luiz and Jose Bosingwa, with both of them falling seriously short of expectations defensively. And Alex, who is no longer the robust and gutsy Brazilian he was a year or two back.

Branislav Ivanovic is perhaps the only defender I have few complaints of right now.

Moving on to Jon Obi Mikel, I don't know what to say. There are times when he looks like this headless chicken, not knowing what he's doing on a football pitch.

Offensively, he adds next to nothing (please don't tell me those short cute sideway passes are classified as attack-mindedness). And add to that the fact that he certainly isn't doing his job screening the back four very well.

The mistake against Liverpool now has led to many fans calling for his head.

The bitter truth is that not all of Chelsea's problems lie at the back. Fernando Torres isn't exactly firing on all cylinders, even though his overall stats do read considerably better as compared to those of the preceding season.

Didier Drogba looks a shadow of the fiery front-man whose name would send shivers down the spine of defenders.

Efficiency in front of goal is right up there with solid defending as the most important aspect of the game. The West Londoners have been failing miserably in both aspects, something not many would differ with me on.

In 2010-11, the Blues went on a real slump under Carlo Ancelotti, and that had catastrophic effects on their season. It cost Mr. Ancelotti his blessed job.  I remember that vividly.

All the signs are that a similar slump is on, and with Guus Hiddink believed to be lurking in the corridors of the Bridge, Andre Villas-Boas will be determined to avoid a similar fate.

There have been positives this season: the playing style, for instance. The signing of Juan Mata, who has hit the ground running in England. The young man Daniel Sturridge showing his true colors in a Blues shirt. The energetic Ramires, whose commitment is unquestionable.

And yet, all this is overshadowed by the negatives.

Tomorrow presents a chance to take a step in the right direction against Wolves. And Villas-Boas' side must grasp it to avoid the Great Slump II.


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