There goes a saying that change begets change. If that saying holds true, it’s likely that fortunes will remain the same for Chelsea Football club in the foreseeable future. Chelsea’s calamitous start to the 2015/2016 season can’t seem to come to an end and, for the most part, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has opted to stay faithful to his starting XI amid mounting disappointment. While the players are to be held accountable, it’s the manager’s job to make adjustments when necessary and as such, Mourinho has long crossed over into the realm of stubbornness. Trusting his players to improve over time hasn’t yielded results and the time is now or never to shake things up if he has any hope of nursing a half-dead campaign back to full health.
Drop Ivanovic for Heaven’s Sake
These words have been on everyone’s lips for weeks now and it really begs the question as to why the task is so difficult to accomplish. Perhaps Jose Mourinho’s ego is too gargantuan to succumb to the requests of mere mortals – epitomized with a response of handing the Serbian the armband. In a way, Branislav wears it well as he is the ultimate symbol of Chelsea’s current form. After a multitude of torrid defensive displays, one wonders what’s left for ‘the winger’s dream’ to do to be axed from the Chelsea starting XI.
This naturally leads to Cesar Azpilicueta being restored to his preferred right-back role and Abdul Baba Rahman being deployed at left-back. Concerns with the latter may just be why this hasn’t materialized just yet. Mourinho has posited that the Ghanaian isn’t ready to step up to regular first team football and that’s understandable as the youngster in his few appearances has been culpable for giving away possession at times and, while he has showcased his talent going forward, it’s evident that more composure is required for him to excel at the top level. The top level, however, is a place where Ivanovic is currently nowhere to be found for too long and taking a chance with a raw talent is a risk worth taking at this stage. Chelsea have nothing to lose.
Zouma is Ready
Kurt Zouma continues to impress where his powerful physique and speed has quickened the mop-up process. His reading of the games still requires improving but at such at a young age, that happening is a foregone conclusion if he keeps starting …which he should.
The other half of center of defense has been subject to debate as long-standing captain John Terry has been building up a strong partnership with the substitutes bench in recent weeks. The Cahill-Zouma pairing has become the norm at the back in recent times and, while it has been solid, has had its moments of disorganization which has caused some level of unrest with fans calling for Terry’s reinstatement at the heart (or rather, the brain) of the Chelsea defense. That disorganization, however, was not absent when the Chelsea skipper was a starter so that path continues to be one of uncertainty as Mourinho now seems to prefer the more agile partnership – a decision that, if nothing else, hasn’t made anything worse than it already is. The partnership has showed good signs and is expected to improve over the course of the season. It being a long term option is a story for another day.
In a Nutshell
With Chelsea now losing more games this season than they have in the entirety of the last one, the defense needs to be taken to surgery. The gaping wound on the right limb of defense has become too infected and requires amputation. That chop alone has a massive ripple effect on the rest of the defense and the team as a whole. Though it may not be the cure to all of Chelsea’s problems on the pitch, chances are it will be the catalyst to the speedy recovery that the Blues so desperately need.