Eight reasons Chelsea have got the Blues
Published 04/10/2015 | 13:41
On the eve of the new Barclays Premier League season Jose Mourinho was the 'Happy One' having signed a new four-year deal at Chelsea.
The club were celebrating a first title since 2009-10 and were bidding to become the first team since Manchester United in 2008-09 to win back-to-back titles. Fast forward two months, however, and the Londoners have been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Boss Mourinho has been very much at the forefront of the negativity, with Chelsea languishing 16th in the table with just two league wins so far.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at eight reasons why Chelsea have got the blues.
Chelsea's opening game of the season - a 2-2 draw at home to Swansea - was overshadowed by an incident late in the game involving club doctor Eva Carneiro and physio Jon Fearn. With the Blues already down to 10 men following the dismissal of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Mourinho became animated when Eden Hazard was helped from the field by his medical staff, leaving them temporarily with nine men. The Portuguese publicly called Carneiro and Fearn "impulsive and naïve" after the game. The episode rumbled on for weeks, with Carneiro since leaving Chelsea and Football Association board member Heather Rabbatts criticising the organisation for its handling of the case. Mourinho faced no action after being cleared of making discriminatory comments, but it took the focus off on-field matters.
Belgian goalkeeper Courtois was sent off in Chelsea's opening fixture against Swansea, but it was a knee injury sustained in training that really hit the Londoners hard. Courtois, who had made the number one jersey his own at Stamford Bridge, needed surgery and was ruled out for three months. With Petr Cech sold to Arsenal over the summer, the onus has fallen on Asmir Begovic to replace Courtois and although he has proved an able replacement, it is fair to say Courtois is a big miss for the club.
Fantasy League managers up and down the country are persisting with Eden Hazard, believing it is only a matter of time before last season's PFA Player of the Year returns to his scintillating best. It is taking a bit longer than anybody imagined for the flying Belgian to get back into form and that has certainly impacted on Chelsea's sorry start. Following the Blues' 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace there was implied criticism of Hazard from Mourinho, although he has not been the only player to suffer a dip in form with Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas also struggling.
Money can't buy you Stones
Chelsea's pursuit of Everton defender John Stones dominated the back pages until the summer transfer window closed. At least three bids of up to £37million were reported to have been made for the young England international, but the Merseysiders refused to budge, even when Stones submitted a transfer request.
Diego's absence proving Costa-ly
Last season it was a recurring hamstring injury, this season it has been disciplinary issues. Whatever the problem, Chelsea are struggling to get the best out of a striker who scored 17 goals in 18 Barclays Premier League matches at the start of the 2014-15 season. The Spain international's aggressive side came to the fore against Arsenal when he bumped the chest of Laurent Koscielny and raised his hands to the Frenchman's face in the first half of the derby clash on September 19. Although Costa escaped with only a yellow card at the time, he was later charged retrospectively with violent conduct and banned for three matches.
Terry rift rumours
Mourinho has vehemently denied talk of a rift with skipper John Terry but the central defender is certainly not proving as influential a figure as last season. The Chelsea boss hit back at BT Sport pundit and former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard when he suggested there must be a problem between the pair after Terry was an unused substitute for the Champions League clash with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Gerrard said: "There's certainly a bit of friction behind the scenes because for me, you play John Terry week in, week out, he's your captain. He's such an important figure in the dressing room and if Chelsea want to be successful this season, they need him in there."
Mourinho said: "Steven is wrong. I have a very good relationship with him. Sometimes we contact by SMS (text message). But he's wrong, because we have no problems."
Pedro and Falcao
Reeling from their worst start to a season in 17 years, the Blues hijacked Manchester United's pursuit of Barcelona winger Pedro, paying around £22million for the 28-year-old. He scored in his first game against West Brom but has managed just one more goal so far - against Walsall in the Capital One Cup. Mourinho showed faith in Radamel Falcao after signing the striker on a season-long loan deal from Monaco. A similar switch to Manchester United in 2014-15 had not worked out for the Colombian and he has scored just once for Chelsea in the defeat at Crystal Palace.
The man himself
Not surprisingly, Mourinho has been noticeably more agitated this season following Chelsea's sorry start and it cannot be helping his players. From the first game against Swansea he was voicing his displeasure at referee Michael Oliver and his assistants for sending off Courtois. He also hit the headlines for swearing in a post-match exchange with Everton boss Roberto Martinez following Chelsea's 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park. But Mourinho insists he is still the best man for the job at Stamford Bridge and claimed on Saturday that it would be a mistake for Chelsea to sack him.