Chelsea suffered their seventh defeat of the Premier League season at Stoke on Saturday, leaving them rooted near the foot of the table in 16th place. The Champions are already out of the title race and are now looking at a thirteen-point gap between them and qualification for next season’s Champions League. Here are ten key figures behind Chelsea’s disastrous slump.
Jose Mourinho – Has courted controversy all season with rants at officials and the media. He has already been handed fines and a one-match stadium ban. His perceived arrogance when his side were winning means that sympathy is in short supply now that the self-proclaimed “Special One” is under pressure for his job.
Eva Carneiro – Chelsea’s problems began on the opening day of the season when Mourinho castigated club doctor Eva Carneiro and physio Jon Fearn for rushing on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard. Both were removed from match-day duties as a result and the repercussions continue with Carneiro taking action against the club for constructive dismissal and an individual legal claim against Mourinho himself.
Petr Cech – Last season Chelsea had arguably the best two goalkeepers in the Premier League in Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech. It was inevitable that Cech would not settle for being second choice for a second term and the club agreed to let him join London rivals Arsenal. A long-term injury to Courtois left Asmir Begovic between the posts and he does not command the same presence as either Courtois or Cech.
Diego Costa – Chelsea’s main striker has always been dogged by injuries and, by his own admission, was not fit at the start of the season. Opposing sides have now learned how to play against his bullying tactics and he gets little sympathy from referees when on the receiving end.
Radamel Falcao – Mourinho was perhaps guilty of arrogance in believing that he could rekindle the career of Falcao, a major flop at Manchester United. He has only started one league game to date and is looks as though his best years are behind him.
Eden Hazard – Widely acknowledged as the finest player in the Premier League last season, Hazard has looked a pale shadow of his former self. Speculation persists that he is unhappy with Mourinho’s demands for him to undertake more defensive duties.
Cesc Fabregas – The Spaniard was an inspiration for the Blues last Autumn but his form became patchy in the second half of the season. At his best when Chelsea are dominating but all at sea then the Blues are under pressure.
John Terry – Earned himself a contract extension with a fine season but has looked short of pace and is once again under pressure for his place from Kurt Zouma.
Branislav Ivanovic – A reliable performer for Chelsea in recent seasons, his form has dipped alarmingly. No longer an automatic first team choice and has also been exposed by his lack of pace.
Nemanja Matic – Commanding in midfield last season, he has also suffered a crisis of confidence after being substituted by Mourinho.
Chelsea’s remaining fixtures in November are at home to Norwich, away to Maccabi Tel Aviv and away to Tottenham.