Let’s be honest, the beginning of Chelsea’s title defense couldn’t have gone much worse. After just two games, last season’s Premier League champ is 16th in the standings with one point, having already conceded five goals. For those who like statistics, Jose Mourinho’s team has already conceded 16 percent of its total goal-allowance from last season, and there’s still 95 percent of the season left to play. And while that might not mean much this early in the season, it’s not as if Chelsea has offered very much going forward, either, as the Blues look predictably narrow and slow in possession and generally out-of-sync on their normally lightening-quick counters.
Of course, a bad start on the field is bad enough, but the club’s coach isn’t helping, either. In fact, he’s doing quite the opposite. Perhaps Mourinho’s game is a bit rusty, too?
Following the 2-2 draw at home to punchy Swansea in the season opener, Mourinho did his patented best to criticize everyone but his players, reserving most of his ire for Chelsea’s medical staff, who, most reasonable people agree, were simply doing their job by attending to Eden Hazard after referee Michael Oliver had called them onto the field (twice).
As usual with Mourinho, you find yourself wondering many things, like: why did he lose his cool? Is he just trying to deflect attention again? Or, does he have a problem with first-team doctor Eva Carneiro that runs deeper than the Swansea game? If that’s the case, was the whole thing staged?
Either way, Chelsea supporters have been left generally flummoxed by his behavior, with a whopping 70 percent of fans siding with Carneiro in the incident, per a poll by Football Addicts. In any event, the BBC reports that no action will be taken against the Portuguese, as the league deemed the situation to be a “club matter.”
Next, there’s Mourinho’s behavior following Manchester City’s 3-0 win at the Etihad on Sunday. In a long and rambling answer to the question, ‘did the better team win?’ the Portuguese declared the final score a “fake result” while insisting that his team was the better side in the second half.
Chelsea might have controlled the play in the second half -- in fact, the Blues finished the game with a slight edge in possession -- but how does Mourinho say with a straight face that his team deserved anything from the game? Not only did City outshoot Chelsea by a margin of 18-10, but eight of those shots were on goal compared to just three for Chelsea. And if it wasn’t for stand-in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who made four or five very important saves, the score-line could have easily been 4, 5 or even 6-nil.
Once again, we find ourselves asking: is Mourinho serious? Does he really think Chelsea played well enough to get a point from this game? Why did he take captain John Terry out at halftime and then make a point of calling the decision “tactical”? For a guy who almost never publicly throws his players under the bus, what was that about?
No one knows, and no one may ever know, but Off The Post has a theory, and it’s pretty simple, too: Mourinho is doing his Hamlet best -- that is, going stark raving mad -- about the fact that he is working with a thin squad and the club has not yet brought in reinforcements.
This will not exactly come as news to Chelsea fans, who have long complained about the club’s lack of options, particularly in defense, where Mourinho had five senior players to occupy four starting positions until Baba Rahman’s signing from Augsberg on Sunday. He still needs at least one more defender, a center-back, and Everton’s John Stones has been pegged as the man. Unfortunately, Everton on Tuesday rejected a third bid of 30 million-pounds ($47 million) for the England international. Of course, everyone has their price, but thus far, Toffees coach Roberto Martinez has held firm to an asking price 34 million-pounds ($53.2 million) for the tall defender.
Then again, Chelsea’s attack is also looking a little stale. In particular, Mourinho favorites Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian, could use a healthy dose of competition, or at least some cover -- and judging by his few appearances thus far, Colombia international Juan Cuadrado does not look to be providing that at the moment, nor does Victor Moses, who is not a Mourinho signing.
It follows, therefore, that Mourinho’s Hamlet-esque madness may have had a purpose after all, as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly green-lighted three more signings before the end of the transfer window. Among the names being thrown around are Zenit St Petersburg center midfielder Axel Witsel, Lyon striker Alexander Lacazette and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezemann. If Mourinho & co can land at least two players of this caliber before Sept 1, Chelsea will suddenly look a lot fuller, and a lot more dangerous.