Reports of Chelsea’s decline are greatly exaggerated
Former Chelsea midfielder Tony Cascarino must be in the running for an award for biggest over-reaction by a football pundit.
Cascarino told Sky Sports that Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is now fighting to hang on to his job, after the Blues lost two out of their last three games, including a particularly humiliating 3-0 defeat by Sunderland at the weekend.
He added: “Chelsea have become a bit like Real Madrid and they’ll be a serious overhaul of the squad if they don’t win (the Premier League). If he (owner Roman Abramovic) fails, he will look at tearing the club apart.”
Ignoring the comparisons with Mourinho, which are misplaced, suggestions that Ancelotti should now be fearing the sack are as ludicrous as the idea that Chelsea are in need of a radical squad overhaul.
Perspective is often cast aside when discussing football managers and their teams, while knee-jerk reactions seem de rigeur when a side hits a bumpy patch of poor form.
Every team has a bad day, and the context of Chelsea’s defeat to Sunderland has been spectacularly ignored in the aftermath.
Cascarino’s former club are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, having won the title last season, and are already through to the knockout phase of the Champions League with a 100 percent record in qualification. They have won nine of their first 13 league games and lost three, scoring 28 goals and conceding only 8.
Their squad has been weakened during the campaign by a string of injuries or illness to the spine of their team with John Terry, Alex, Michael Essien, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba all spending time on the sidelines. But they are still on course for a Premier League and Champions League double.
How many clubs would like that sort of ‘crisis’ and how many of them would swap their current position with that of Chelsea? In short, all of them.
Perhaps the absence of Terry and Alex against Sunderland highlighted the need for reinforcements at centre back following the summer exit of Ricardo Carvalho to Real Madrid.
An addition here or there would add strength and depth but a radical overhaul is uncalled for.
Chelsea are away to Birmingham on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against them returning to winning ways.
PHOTO: Chelsea’s Didier Drogba (L) and Nicolas Anelka react after conceding the third goal against Sunderland during their English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge in London November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne