If you had watched Chelsea’s preseason performance this summer, Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Premier League title rivals Manchester City was not a surprise.
Uncharacteristically of a Jose Mourinho coached side, Chelsea have been at sea defensively from the opening game of their USA tour when they lost 4-2 to New York Red Bulls.
In seven games Chelsea have failed to keep a clean sheet once, and have conceded two or more goals in four of those seven matches.
Just as worrying as the defense is Chelsea’s inability to score goals. Last season Chelsea were scoring goals for fun, but if you go back to the Community Shield at the start of the month, the Blues have played four game and scored two goals. In three of those four games they have been shut out.
No wonder then that under-fire Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho cut a frustrated figure after the Man City defeat. Mourinho, whose side trail City by five points, said he was startled to see Aguero granted so much space in the first half when he and his defenders had spent “all week” planning how to stop him.
He also explained that his surprising decision to remove John Terry at half-time, the first time he has withdrawn his captain in 177 league games, was purely due to a desire to add Kurt Zouma’s pace to the back four and move Chelsea’s defensive line further forward.
The 34-year-old Terry played every single second of Chelsea’s title triumph last season and there was a note of irritation in Mourinho’s voice when he was asked why it was he, and not Gary Cahill, who had been withdrawn. ”
I don’t know if you ask many questions to (Rafael) Benitez, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto di Matteo, to the ones that never played him,” Mourinho replied, citing some of his predecessors in the Chelsea dug-out.
“I am the one you shouldn’t ask because I am the one who played John every game, made him captain, recovered him from a difficult situation with other managers and had the right to say I want Zouma on the pitch.”
The display is only like to accelerate Chelsea’s pursuit of Everton centre-back John Stones. Left-back Abdul Rahman Baba’s arrival from Augsburg was confirmed by the German club on Sunday.