After marking a successful return to winning ways last time out in the league against Norwich City, and subsequently seeing off Maccabi Tel Aviv with relative ease in the Champions League mid-week, Jose Mourinho finally enters Chelsea’s upcoming fixture with that all important burden partially lifted from his shoulders.
The Blues may currently languish in 15th place in the league with a grand total of 14 points off top-spot – but as the English top-flight can prove rather unpredictable, even at the best of times – it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see Chelsea hit a strong run of form and climb that league table in somewhat dramatic style.
So then, have the good times finally returned for Jose Mourinho and his struggling Blues outfit, or will the 2015/16 campaign simply serve to frustrate the Stamford Bridge faithful for a good while yet to come?
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Well, on paper – this is a team that includes many top-class players who would easily get into most Premier League starting XI’s currently operating out there, supervised by a manager who many consider to be the best tactician of his kind, and backed by a Russian oligarch who certainly hasn’t been scared to get the cheque-book out in the past. If the going gets really tough, Chelsea can always buy themselves out of trouble after all.
Now that Diego Costa has registered himself back amongst the goals with a well taken finish against the Canaries, you would expect the Brazilian-born Spanish international to push on for the rest of the season and start showing his supposed worth.
Tottenham will not prove easy customers for Chelsea to deal with, but if Costa can continue his goal-scoring form at White Hart Lane after everything that’s happened this season, surely the confidence will flood back through Mourinho’s ranks.
However, as the former Atletico Madrid man looked noticeably poor against a ten-man Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League this week, maybe such a positive eventuality simply won’t take place over-night for Diego Costa. Perhaps teams are now starting to suss the front-man out, even if the 27-year-old striker likes to think he remains a thorn in the side of most opposing back-lines.
The same line of thinking can also be applied to a certain Eden Hazard, as he too looked incredibly ineffectual mid-week. Clearly the Belgian international was subject to a great deal of over-hyping when he first arrived among the English top-flight – for if the 24-year-old play-maker did in-fact represent the world class asset many first categorized him as – surely he would have scored at least one goal in any competition by now?
On the whole – Chelsea have still looked rather questionable over their last couple of matches. Jose Mourinho’s team continue to look most dangerous from set pieces, which really isn’t one of the major hallmarks of a truly impressive side.
There still seem to be several problems going on behind the scenes at Chelsea, Mourinho’s control on the situation remains far from convincing in all honesty– and although everyone seemingly expects the Blues to return to winning ways sooner rather than later, this is the Premier League, where results have to be earned first and foremost.
Roman Abramovich doesn’t quite portray himself as a rather patient man with all things considered, so if the going continues to prove difficult for Chelsea in 2015/16, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see the Russian chairman exercise his notoriously itchy trigger-finger at least some stage down the line.
Therefore, although the Blues certainly seem to be heading in the right direction right now, the perilous nature of the modern game could easily spin them back around once again, and send them trailing off further away from the limelight. This is by far the most unstable Chelsea side we have witnessed in a long time, so the importance of their upcoming league fixture simply couldn’t arrive with any more significance.
If Chelsea win against an admittedly impressive Tottenham Hotspur outfit, then that will seemingly be that. But if they lose – well, maybe the Stamford Bridge faithful will have only just scratched the surface of what truly lies in wait for them throughout the rest of the campaign.
This is ultimately the stage in which Mourinho’s side must choose which path they take this term, or simply have their destiny chosen for them.