Because less players equal more space to pass and move

Where it has gone wrong for Chelsea

The shock 1-0 home defeat to newly-promoted Bournemouth was yet another body blow for Chelsea in what has already descended into a nightmare season where very little, if anything at all, has gone right.

Jose Mourinho has cut a forlorn figure on the sidelines as his team have been a distinct shadow of the one that dominated the Premier League with a swagger and ruthlessness that set them apart from the rest.

Bookies highlighted the fact that most bookmakers installed Chelsea as favourites to retain their league crown, but their latest defeat not only leaves them firmly in the mire in the bottom half of the table, but also dented any hope of clawing some credibility back by reaching the top four.

There is still time for Chelsea to resurrect their season with twenty-three games still to play, but if recent performances and results are anything to go by, then it may be worth writing off the 2015/2016 campaign altogether and starting afresh next season.

Hardly anyone expected Jose Mourinho and his players to endure such a decline after winning the Premier League in such ominous fashion, with the domination that some predicted failing to materialise. The performance against Bournemouth was the perfect illustration of a team devoid of any confidence or belief in their own abilities, with the clear lack of understanding and cohesion making the players look like complete strangers at Stamford Bridge.

It has become a running theme for Chelsea, and although Mourinho has highlighted improvements in certain areas, there is still an underlying feeling that the transformation in fortunes that they desperately need has yet to happen.

Being a mere two points above the drop zone is a mark of the doldrums that Chelsea currently find themselves in, and although’s football coverage has highlighted that their title odds have dramatically dropped as low as 80/1, the defending Premier League champions could face the ignominy of being in the relegation zone at Christmas if they do not buck their ideas up soon.

There are numerous facets of Chelsea’s game that are clearly missing from last season, with the lack of understanding and work rate evident problems which have to be rectified. Chelsea were defensively resolute through a collective team effort, particularly in midfield where the likes of Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas provided a protective shield in front of the back four.

It provided the foundations for the more attacking players to express themselves and score with a high quality cutting edge that ultimately led to the Premier League title. A significant decrease in work rate have resulted in Chelsea looking extremely vulnerable; it has led to numerous errors at the back, and with John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic in considerable decline, opposing teams have lost the fear factor when facing Chelsea and instead look to exploit their deficiencies.

There is plenty of quality across their squad to suggest that Chelsea can turn their season around, but although they have certainly not become a bad team overnight, there are evident problems that have to be addressed.

Fans have been left scratching their heads at how and where it has gone so dramatically wrong, with no-one able to put a finger on why it has happened; Mourinho’s decision to shorten pre-season preparations, failing to adequately strengthen in the transfer market by securing their main targets, or players simply not performing and in decline just to name a few suggestions at where the true problems stem from.

All three carry an element of weight behind them, particularly as Chelsea have continued to look disorganised and off-colour since August with a lack of quality that could have been amended through better purchases. However, the latter point is arguably where Chelsea’s biggest problem lies, as although Mourinho finds himself under increasing pressure to keep his job with ever-decreasing odds on Bookies to be the next manager sacked, the players should be held responsible for their role in the club’s demise.

Fabregas, Ivanovic and Eden Hazard are to name just three who are nowhere near the same level as last season, while Diego Costa appears more interested in causing controversy instead of focusing on his game.

Therein lays a fundamental problem; serious title contenders need every player pulling their weight and contributing to the cause, and while Chelsea were certainly a hallmark of this quality last season, they have looked anything but organised or clear in what they are trying to achieve on the pitch.

Until Chelsea rediscover the qualities that made them so difficult to stop last season, then they will continue to endure a campaign of struggle that has taken everyone by surprise.

hat they will be one of the most difficult teams to break down in France – a factor that often enables the Azzuri to reach the latter stages and may be worth backing through a football bet.

Antonio Conte certainly has a well-drilled defensive unit with an element of flair through the likes of Stephan El Shaarawy and Alessandro Florenzi that could make the difference in the final third. Italy are also included amongst the dark horses for Euro 2016, and with the potential of becoming the joint-most successful team in the competition’s history alongside Spain and Germany, the 1968 and 1980 champions have all the incentive they need to go one further than they did at Euro 2000 and 2012.