It seemed quite easy to point fingers after Chelsea lost 4-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Fans probably weren’t feeling all that confident heading into the new season after seeing the club lose Eden Hazard, get hit with a transfer ban, then lose David Luiz all in the same summer. But the optimism was thick when the ball finally began moving on the day as the home side simply didn’t look up to the task.
Tammy Abraham struck the post with a decent attempt early on and the Blues looked like they could leave Old Trafford with all three points before they went down 1-0 against the run of play after Kurt Zouma was adjudged to have fouled Marcus Rashford in the box. The young Englishman converted with aplomb, setting up what would turn out to be a right hiding for Frank Lampard and his men.
Zouma, who made several mistakes on the day, including the clumsy foul that gave the penalty away, was one of the players targeted by Blues fans. But it was captain Cesar Azpilicueta who bore the brunt of the criticism, with many Chelsea supporters taking to Twitter to call for him to be replaced by Reece James when the youngster is back to full health.
While the likes of Mason Mount and Emerson Palmieri could hold their heads high amid the disappointment, players like Ross Barkley, Pedro and Jorginho simply didn’t perform up to standard. Abraham showed flashes here and there but there are worries that he might not be able to cope with the pressure of leading the attack for Chelsea.
There’s a lot that could be said about what Chelsea got wrong on Sunday- from Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante not starting to the errors leading to all four of United’s goals. But, if we’re going to be honest, it’s really too early to judge, considering the circumstances.
As mentioned above, it appears easy to single individuals out for the mistakes but, to be fair, they were all team mistakes. Yes, Zouma and Azpilicueta should have done a lot better but they’re carrying the blame simply because they made the final mistake on the plays that led to the goals.
There’s no doubting Zouma’s ability, the Frenchman has lots of potential and is a very solid center-back. Azpilicueta, meanwhile, has played as a left-back, centrally and as a right-back since joining Chelsea and is the most experienced starter in the Blues backline. Pace was never a strong suit for the Spaniard but he is as good a one-on-one marker you’ll ever see.
Is this just a one-off or is he really in decline? It’s now up to time to tell. But it’s way too early to cast judgment on the current Blues squad, especially when it comes to a player who has served this admirably for several years.
Sunday’s loss leaves Chelsea at No.19 on the Premier League table. Of course, relegation is still very much outside of the question at this point in time but if you’re looking to bet on them getting shipped off to the Championship, 888sport has odds of 500/1 on offer. You could also head to freebets.co.uk for the best bookmaker picks for your betting all season long.
The Blues are back in domestic action on Sunday and will face Leicester City at home. Ladbrokes is offering 3/4 on a Blues win, 5/2 on a draw and 18/5 on a Foxes victory. Bet365 has them at 9/4 to finish in the top four while Betway has 66/1 on a title-winning season for the Stamford Bridge side.