Whether he was just trying to persuade the chairman not to sack him, or give his players hope, Carlo Ancelotti made a claim after Sunday’s disastrous 3-3 draw with Aston Villa that Chelsea can still win this season’s Premier League.
That draw, when Chelsea entered the game as 1.25 favourites (don’t trust anyone who tipped them to win!) leaves last season’s champions 6 points behind leaders Manchester United, having played 1 game more. Chelsea currently lie in 5th position after 20 games and have some catching up on Manchester City and Arsenal to even make the top 3.
They looked unbeatable at the start of the season, but injuries to Frank Lampard and John Terry seemed to have rattled them and they have not recovered since. Now just 1 win in their last 8 league games. The effort of the team has come under question, as has the ability of some of the players.
Ramires has managed to play 16 league games this season but has looked poor in their midfield, bar one of two signs of promise. Super sub Salomon Kalou only has 1 goal in his last 10 appearances now and his decision making is questionable. Daniel Sturridge has failed to score in all 11 substitute appearances for Chelsea this season. Nicolas Anelka only looked good when this Chelsea side was playing well. Even Ashley Cole has failed to setup his team mates in this poor run of form.
Whether it is a change of manager or a couple of fresh signings need to be made this January, this current Chelsea side don’t look like they want to win this season’s Premier League. Looking at their substitute bench for their last few games, there are very few players on the bench you can seem coming off the bench and making a positive change for the side. Manchester United brought Javier Hernandez to head home their winner on Saturday, while Arsenal and Manchester City have a wealth of attacking talent on their benches.
The signings of Ramires and Yossi Benayoun in the summer was hardly strengthening the side. Carlo Ancelotti was keen on bringing youths through this season, but in truth they have yet to deliver in the first half of the season. Jeffrey Bruma looked woeful in his first Premier League start at the back on Sunday. Fortunately for Chelsea, Branislav Ivanovic returns from suspension for their next game.
With Arsenal’s young team coming strong and Manchester City buying strong, Chelsea need to rearm their squad with some big January or summer signings to make a title challenge for next season. Namely a centre back to partner John Terry, a better central midfielder than Jon Obi Mikel and Ramires, and maybe another goalscoring striker if Nicolas Anelka cannot refind his goalscoring form.
Chelsea travel to Wolves on Wednesday, while they also have week night games at Bolton and Sunderland in the next 4 games which could see them drop even further behind Manchester United and the rest of the top 4. Perhaps Carlo Ancelotti will concentrate on the Champions League; a trophy which Chelsea have yet to win, even with Roman Abramovich’s millions.