Chelsea Falls in the Premier League with Loss to Manchester City
Chelsea F.C. had what was essentially a dream season in 2016 – 17. Winning the Premier League title put them amongst football’s most successful teams, and the club was hoping to come back in the 2017 – 18 season and do it all again. Unfortunately, success in the Premier League is never guaranteed, and Chelsea is finding out just how difficult it can be to stay at the top of the competition.
With seven games played, Chelsea now has a record of 4 – 1 – 2, and while that’s still good enough for 4th place in the English Premier League, it leaves them well behind Manchester City and Manchester United, and even Tottenham Hotspur. It’s time to take a look at what’s going wrong for Chelsea this season, and gather opinions and insights from team management.
Chelsea is Giving Too Many Points Away
Despite being 4th in the Premier League, Chelsea has conceded too many points this season, especially for a team that wants to win the championship. They’ve given away eight points at home games in the 2017 – 18 season. This would be a poor record for a whole season, and the fact that they’ve conceded so many after just seven game, is a bad sign. In 2016 – 17, they only gave away six points at home for the entire season.The team is also struggling with possession. In their most recent loss to Manchester City, they had just 38% possession for the entire match. Not having possession means that it’s difficult to find opportunities to score, and it leaves Chelsea on the back foot. Constantly defending means that there’s a lot of pressure, and even the best teams can break when they are forced to defend for 62% of a game.
Again, this is a low point for Chelsea. The team haven’t had a statistic this bad since the 2003 – 04 season (although they went lower in 2015 when they had just 29.6% in an April game against Manchester United).Then there’s the biggest sore point of all: the fact that Chelsea failed to score a goal in the game. This is the only time since 2012 that the team have failed to score in a home league game for two in a row.These are all important points to consider, and anybody who was picking Chelsea to win the title this season, will need to start reevaluating the competition. The Manchester teams (both City and United) have been dominant this season, and Chelsea definitely has a long road ahead of them if they intent to improve and get back to the top of the Premier League table.
Team Observations and Insights
Although there are probably some difficult conversations happening behind closed doors, the team is not in any way falling apart from the early season pressure. They’re still motivated to win, and are still taking the positives from every game. They can also take confidence from wins outside of the league, such as their recent 2 – 1 win over Atlético de Madrid in the Champions League, a team which is currently ranked 3rd in the Spanish La Liga. Manager Antonio Conte is realistic but optimistic about the team. When talking about their difficult start to the season, he told media and fans in a team conference call that:
“I think we have to look at ourselves and try to put everything into every game. We did that today [against Manchester City]. Damage or no damage, we have to go game by game, do our best, and then we’ll see at the end of the season how we finish the league. When I see my players have given everything we must be pleased despite the bad result. You have to consider that in seven games we’ve played Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Everton. Our start wasn’t so easy. I think we have the points we deserve.”
When Conte was asked about the impact of Alvaro Morata’s injury on their most recent game, he wasn’t willing to put the blame entirely down to a one single factor. The team subbed Morata for Willian, a player who is highly regarded throughout international football. Conte did argue that having Champions League and Premier League games so close together, may have had an impact on the final outcome.
He said in the conference call that “On this issue I have already spoken and to repeat the same opionin is not good. We don’t want to use it as an excuse. To play another massive game two days later you must consider the fatigue in the legs of your players, and it’s impossible to press box to box because after 30 minutes you have no energy. It’s normal when you play three massive games in seven days you must consider this aspect but we needed to take the risk [of playing Morata] because Morata, for us, is a very important player.”It’s reassuring to know that Chelsea’s manager is able to keep things in perspective.
Chelsea Will Have a Slight Reprieve in Their Next Fixture
Being 4th in the Premier League is not a bad place to be, but it’s not the position that Chelsea wants to be in. They will at least have a reprieve for their next game, as they head to Crystal Palace to play against one of their London based rivals. Crystal Palace have lost every game they’ve played this season, currently standing with a record of 0 – 7. Bookmakers and every analyst will agree that this is a guaranteed win for Chelsea, however, anything at all can happen in the Premier League.
In the most likely scenario that they do beat Crystal Palace, they’ll have a chance to take a breather and prepare for the rest of the season. Throughout the rest of October, the only teams that Chelsea will play in the Premier League are teams that are ranked below them, which will give the team a chance to improve their record, and to try and develop in some of the areas where they have been lacking so far in 2017. Winning the Premier League title is not out of reach for the club, but they’re going to have to do a lot more if they want to have any chance of being a threat to Manchester City and Manchester United, two teams that look like they will continue dominating the season.