Darkest before the dawn? Analysis of Chelsea’s performance so far, and what the future holds for the Blues.

Newcastle United vs Chelsea

The defending EPL Champions have had a torrid start to the 2015-16 season, where they have just managed to obtain a petty 14 points from the from the 13 points they have played so far, and are perched at a lowly 15th place on the English Premier League table. In addition, they have already been knocked out of the Capitol One Cup by Stoke.

Even though things are a bit better for the Blues in the European competition, overall, this has been the kind of start which no one was rooting for, a few months back, when they were crowned EPL champions. With a number of stars from the previous season miserably failing to make an impact this season, things so far have looked gloomy.

However, Chelsea had some respite with a home win against Norwich, last week, which ended their run of four consecutive games in the Premier League. Alongside the three points, the Blues had a number of positives to take from the game.

Firstly, the Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard, who has had a season to forget so far, looked far more promising and sharp in the game against Norwich. The PFA player of the previous season was really struggling to make a mark for the Blues, with a mere couple of assists in 13 PL games. However, the number 10 looked really sharp. With a number of dribbles, incisive passes and some terrific runs off the ball, he kept the Norwich defense wondering, and was awarded the Man of the Match award.

Another player who seemed to have shown glimpses of coming back to form was the striker Diego Costa. Having bagged an impressive 20 goals in his first season in the Premier League, this season has been a contrasting one for him, where he has really struggled to find the back of the net. The 27 year old has managed to find just 3 goals in 13 appearances so far, which included one against Norwich.

Costa had a number of chances to find the net, but remained unlucky, before he finally managed to score in the 53rd minute, courtesy an assist from Cesc Fabregas. The burly striker had an overall decent game, and the Chelsea fans would be hoping that this would be a sign of better things to arrive.

Chelsea have had a far better run in the UEFA Champions’ League. They stand second in Group G with 10 points, and a high probability of making it through to the round of sixteen. They have had just one defeat in the competition so far, and with things apparently getting better for the defending EPL Champions, they would look to make their mark on the competition by qualifying for the last sixteen and beyond.

Where most of the key players for Chelsea have been found wanting, including the defense which was so efficient and clinical the previous season, a certain unsung hero has sprung up for the Blues, and exhibited his abilities. Having scored 2 in the EPL, and 4 goals in the UEFA Champions’ League, Willian has been the savior for Chelsea this season. All of his goals have come from direct free kicks, which has made him, statistically, the best free kick taker in Europe. His goals have come at crucial moments and have salvaged crucial points for his side, without which Chelsea would have been in a worse off position.

The defensive struggles for Chelsea have meant that Jose Mourinho has had to bring about changes to his normally reliable back four. Ivanovic, Cahill and Terry not being up to the mark has meant opportunities for young defenders like Baba Rehman and Kurt Zouma, who have pounced up on the chance, and have revitalized Chelsea with more pace and energy. Furthermore, forward players like Loftus-Cheek and Kennedy have also had decent game time, which will open up options for Jose, come the business end of the season

To conclude, Chelsea now have nothing to lose. Even though it is an uphill task for Jose Mourinho and his men, he would look to be in top 4 come the end of the season, alongside progressing far into the Champion’s league and the soon to commence Emirates FA Cup. This would definitely be complemented by the form that some of Chelsea’s key players seem to have found, as well as the rejuvenating presence the youngsters have had on the club.

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