CRAIGE: Chelsea Marred by Discontent in Poor Start
The Beautiful Game

As we’ve all seen so far, the 2015 soccer season has been a highly unpredictable one. Who would have thought that after 10 weeks, West Ham would be in third place while Chelsea languishes in 15th place?

Chelsea’s season thus far has been an absolute shock to most. The champions of last year have hardly played like it at all. The defense has been catastrophic, the offense is not scoring enough and the entire team has been plagued with injuries.

Chelsea has already lost more games than it did in the entirety of last season. One could argue that the Blues have been highly unlucky in that many refereeing decisions have gone against them. Things have been so dismal for Chelsea that the team had to put out a statement confirming its faith in under-fire manager Jose Mourinho.

So why is it exactly that Chelsea continues to struggle to get the ball rolling?

A possible answer is Jose Mourinho himself. The manager gave his team an extra week off during the summer, and it appears to have come back to haunt him. The entire team is inconsistent and Mourinho has constantly changed the lineups.

Furthermore, there was a scandal with team doctor Eva Carneiro, when Mourinho reacted angrily to the doctor racing on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard as it briefly left his team with only nine players. Mourinho stripped Carneiro of her first team duties, and she eventually ended up leaving the club.

The fiery manager, no stranger to controversy, has already been hit with multiple fines and even a one-game ban. Mourinho dropped stras like Eden Hazard and John Terry from his starting lineups, creating rumors of tension between Mourinho and his players.

Injuries have certainly had a large impact on the champions. The largest blow has been the loss of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is not expected to return until December at the earliest.

Fortunately, Courtois’ backup Asmir Begovic has proved more than capable of filling the Belgian’s position. Unfortunately for Chelsea, the line of injuries has not stopped there. Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and new signee Pedro have also experienced problems. This has created an inconsistency in Chelsea’s starting lineup, a problem that has only grown as Mourinho’s players continue to frustrate him.

Discontent is also a factor in Chelsea’s lack of form. Hazard continues to be linked to a potential move to Real Madrid and even appeared to confirm this desire when he liked an Instagram post discussing the move.

Captain John Terry is certainly disgruntled, as the defender has played a total of 10 games in competitions both domestic and abroad. Mourinho dropped his captain from the starting lineup after the latter received a red card against West Brom. This is a highly questionable decision because normally stable defender Branislav Ivanovic has completely lost his form. Chelsea’s defense could highly benefit from the stable presence that Terry offers.

It remains to be seen whether Chelsea can turn things around to at least qualify for the Europa League. As of right now, though, things are very gloomy indeed for the Blues. I must confess that it brings me great joy that even with their own woes, Liverpool is at least still ahead of Chelsea.

Here’s a look at upcoming games for the next few weeks:

Chelsea is playing Liverpool on Halloween. While I’m certainly biased toward my team, this game should be quite interesting. It will be manager Jurgen Klopp’s first game against a traditional big club, pitting two unconventional managers against each other.

Furthermore, neither team really has an advantage over the other, as both clubs have been very shaky and in poor form. While I would like to be optimistic and say Liverpool will thrash Chelsea, this game will probably end in a tie. If so, at least Liverpool will still be higher in the table.

Arsenal plays Tottenham on Nov. 8. Arsenal is currently tied for first place while Tottenham has climbed up the table into sixth place. Both teams are in good form, and the North London Derby is always a good game to watch. Given its historical edge in the competition, I think Arsenal will come out on top.

The second round of the Champions League round robin will take place Nov. 3 and 4. On Tuesday, keep an eye out for Paris St. Germain against Real Madrid, Sevilla against Manchester City and CSKA Moscow against Manchester United. On Wednesday, watch Bayern Munich against Arsenal — Arsenal stunned Bayern the last time — and Chelsea against Dynamo Kyiv.

VanessaCraigeVanessa Craige is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. The Beautiful Game appears every other Tuesday.

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