There’s too much change, shifting and rotating in the Chelsea lineup early on in the season, as Eden Hazard seems to be the only attacking player with an unmovable stake in the first XI, as it seems Jose Mourinho has a squad that’s a bit too big for his own good at the moment, not making the right decisions with it as well.
The 1-0 loss at Everton isn’t the end of the world. United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City have all dropped points, which makes them only a bit late to join the party of the imperfects. But Mourinho’s game management and ability to handle everything Everton threw at him was at its weakest, as every substitution he made seemed to make the team worse.
Chelsea were the better side in the first half thanks to a very strong game from Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Juan Mata, but Samuel Eto’o couldn’t make anything in the box work for him, in a surprising debut start for the Cameroonian striker, showing just how problematic the striker situation is for Mourinho at the moment. Fernando Torres came on in the final minutes to “save the day”, but it simply provided Everton with more open space to threaten Chelsea with.
Mata isn’t match fit, and Mourinho took him out after 57 minutes, and he did the same with Schurrle. However, throwing Oscar and Frank Lampard into the match lost him the match, or simply denied him the opportunity to really press Everton until the end. Oscar was stuck on the wing and was almost a right back in the final minutes after the Torres substitution. Frank Lampard showed why he is useless when he needs to contribute anything but goals.
Everton had an easy time breaking up and running through the middle time after time with Leon Osman, while John Obi Mikel felt completely alone. Ramires drifted wide quite too often, while Lampard can do nothing as a stopper in the middle of the pitch. Hazard was on the left, busy trying to conjure things on his own, without anyone to finish the job he started.
Chelsea aren’t a mess, but Jose Mourinho teams should usually have a lot more order in them. The lies about playing well in the first two wins haven’t really convinced anyone about his team’s playing ability. Chelsea look like a project in the works (which they are, considering all the changes made in the summer), but it seems like Mourinho is experimenting too much at the stage where he should have a much clearer outlook on the abilities of his team.
It’s only the first month of the season, and changes have to be made on a week of Champions League action, but it seems like by making some of his lineup choices seem almost like coin flips Mourinho has really hurt the ability of some of his players, putting them in the wrong positions and creating an unbalanced team that has no chance of coming back due to him not putting them in a situation that’s winnable for them.
Mourinho doesn’t have the individual talent he had at his disposal at Real Madrid. Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, and that is where the ‘special’ players’ list ends. By not giving those two the ideal conditions to perform like they did for long chunks of last season he’s denying Chelsea their best chance to succeed or even play well early on in the season.