It's Time For Drastic Measures At Stamford Bridge
Another day, another devastating loss for José Mourinho’s Chelsea club.
Monday’s journey to King Power Stadium offered a nice opportunity for the Blues to assert themselves against Leicester City, which entering the match was just a point behind Arsenal for the Premier League lead. As has now become a familiar topic of conversation in football circles, Chelsea has been in a futile search of the form that won it the domestic title just last spring, and a win over the surprise contenders from Leicester would have helped to numb at least a small portion of the concern.
However, it was Leicester City that came out in an assertive move on Monday. The Foxes defended home turf with a 2-1 victory that vaulted them into the lead in the EPL tables. Jamie Vardy (who else?) got the action started with a 34th minute goal, and Riyad Mahrez notched a gorgeous goal just 14 minutes later. Loic Remy scored midway through the second half for Chelsea, but it wasn’t enough. Leicester City held on for the 2-1 win and in doing so might have dashed any hopes of a Chelsea resurgence. Now with just 15 points through 16 weeks, Chelsea supporters have to begin pondering the unthinkable: they’re a lot likelier to face relegation than to contend.
That realisation should be the last straw for Chelsea. A club with its type of reputation can only allow a decline like this for so long before drastic changes are in order, and the Blues have reached that point. There’s no point in talking about contention or title defence anymore, but the following moves could at least put Chelsea back on the right track (not to mention help stave off relegation).
Mourinho Should Be Sacked Immediately
Enough is enough with José Mourinho. The man has as strong a reputation and resume as most any active football coach in the world, but sometimes it’s just best for even a great coach and a great team to part ways. Mourinho won last year with one of the most talented clubs in England, and somehow he’s been utterly unable to even approximate the same success with what’s essentially the same roster in 2015/16. Perhaps even worse, he’s been defiant, short-tempered, and irritable about the whole thing. Each week we hear rumours that Mourinho’s job could be on the line, and fans of the Blues are disappointed once more. Yet, Mourinho continues to stick around. At this point, it’s simply not helping matters. Despite having received some support from prominent members of the English football community, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Mourinho should be sacked—now.
Diego Costa Should Be Let Go
A year ago, Diego Costa was setting the EPL on fire in his debut season for Chelsea. His electric start to the season made for one of the most memorable entries into the league this century so far, and ultimately he played a major role in the Blues’ domestic title. This season, though, he’s been a shell of himself. Costa has just three goals and a single assist on the season, and he has found the back of the net just once (in all competitions) since October 17. To clarify, that means a man perceived as one of the deadliest strikers in European football is averaging less than one goal per month. Furthermore, Costa has sparred with Mourinho on occasion and has even publicly hinted that he’d be interested in a return to Atlético Madrid. If any club comes calling during the winter transfer window, Chelsea ought to let him go.
A Dynamic New Striker Should Be Signed
Not only have things at Stamford Bridge reached a point where Diego Costa should be let go, but rumour has it Eden Hazard could be on his way to La Liga as well. Real Madrid is known to covet the young attacking midfielder, and Chelsea is said to have set the price around £75 million. But even if Hazard stays put, Chelsea needs some help to support a floundering attack. James Rodriguez has come up as a potentially perfect replacement, and Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato has also come up, as he’s made it clear he’d favour a move to the EPL.
It’s arguable that none of these ideas even addresses Chelsea’s biggest concern, which is that it’s conceding goals at a rate that must make opponents feel like they’re on the training pitch. Up top, Costa and Hazard have been so out of sorts that it seems as if new talent is needed. But on defence, all the skill remains in place from last season—they just need to wake up (and perhaps a new coaching hire could help them do so).
The fact is there’s no quick fix at this point. But getting rid of Mourinho and Costa and injecting some new talent and pace up front would certainly be a start.
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