Why Chelsea’s new gung-ho approach could harm title charge
Sat top of the table, with four wins from four, and new arrival Diego Costa looking the signing of the summer, it seems silly to suggest Chelsea need to be wary of imminent trouble.
But in netting 15 goals in their opening four Premier League games, the Blues have looked to be playing under a very different mentality to one last season that seemed to imply that avoiding defeat was the primary target.
Jose Mourinho, a man who last season took pride in a defensive record that saw his side concede just 27 league goals all campaign, has his team playing a more attacking, fluid style of football, but could that be his downfall?
It’s fair to say that perhaps Everton aside, the quartet of fixtures the Stamford Bridge outfit have been faced with to date, should have heralded simple victories. But despite picking up maximum points, Thibault Cortois has still had to pick the ball out of his net six times.
Compared to an average of 0.71 goals conceded per game throughout the 2013/14 Premier League season, an increase to 1.5 strikes against them this time round could be alarming.
They have got away with it by their sheer presence going forward against the likes of Burnley and Swansea, but it could spell trouble against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.
Gary Neville highlighted one of their misgivings on Monday Night Football, picking out Cesc Fabregas’ persistence to chase the ball, leaving plenty of gaps for opposition attackers to get into the space.
But it’s not just the Spaniard’s lack of defensive nous that will need to be addressed going forward.
Branislav Ivanovic, while he is a top quality player, looks like he could be caught out under a more pressing Chelsea line up.
He has been keen to get forward at every opportunity this season, and has been rewarded with two goals to his name.
However he simply does not have the pace to get back from such positions should the ball find its way back into the opponents grasp.
He could almost become another David Luiz (albeit less disaster prone), a victim of his own positivity, left wanting when his attacking play goes awry.
They could almost become this seasons Liverpool, who despite posting their best finish in five years, managed to ruin their chances with lack of solidity at the back. Despite netting 101 times, 51 goals against them surely harmed their chances as much as ‘that’ Steven Gerrard slip.
Mourinho’s men are strong 7/10 favourites to lift the trophy in May, but I’d personally want to see how they cope against their title rivals before getting involved at such a skinny price.
Things may have gone ok for the Blues to date, despite conceding a number of goals, but things could be much different when they come up against the better sides.
And that’s even with injury prone Diego Costa in their starting line-up.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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