Five Reasons Jose May Be Right

Jose Mourinho has been telling us all along that Chelsea cannot win the title. Adam Bate watched them v Palace and found several reasons he may be right...

Last Updated: 30/03/14 at 12:57 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's Complete List Of Summer Transfers

9 comments

All the Premier League ins and outs in one place...

Football Managers On TV: Sean Dyche

1 comments

He's the gravelly-voiced one, a manager that seems to remain calm and maintains an admirable amount of self-awareness in his job. He is Sean Dyche...

All Articles

"We depend too much on other results," said Jose Mourinho after Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday. "When you depend a little it's possible, when you depend a lot, I don't think it's possible. We depend now too much. I don't think now we can win the league."

It's nothing new to hear Mourinho talk this way. He's been downplaying his team's chances all season. The difference is that people are now starting to believe him. After struggling to show the incision needed against a resilient Palace at Selhurst Park, perhaps it wasn't a bluff after all.

With Chelsea now third favourites to win the Premier League title, we take a look at some of the reasons why Mourinho's men came up short on Saturday and also risk doing so come the end of an eventful season...

1) Form v Small Teams

A key reason for the conviction held among the wider public regarding Chelsea's title ambitions has been their unerring form in the biggest games. The Blues have beaten every top-half team they've faced at Stamford Bridge and are unbeaten both home and away against their title rivals. Curiously, the difficulties have come against the weaker sides.

West Ham and West Brom are the only teams to come away with any points from the Bridge this season. Indeed, the Baggies are the only team Chelsea have failed to beat in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Stoke, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace have all beaten Mourinho's side. With the notable exception of Arsenal, a failure to punish teams when on top has been a feature of the campaign.

2) Striker Issues

Much of that can be attributed to Chelsea's issues in attack. "Mourinho over the past four or five months has been saying that they're not quite there," said Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville at the weekend. "The centre-forward area is the problem and it's costing them that they just can't quite get the goals in the really tight games."

Samuel Eto'o has made a significant contribution since Christmas with important goals against Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal. But there were also runs of both five and eight games without a goal in that period from the now 33-year-old striker. A reliable heavy scorer in the mould of Sergio Aguero or Luis Suarez has been missing.

With Eto'o injured, the onus has been on Fernando Torres to step up from the bench and fill the breach. However, the Spaniard could only deliver an inauspicious performance against Palace. In fact, the most memorable aspect of his contribution on Saturday came after latching onto a Stuart O'Keefe backpass only to turn away from goal before scooping a tame effort over the bar.

Asked about Torres' display, Mourinho said: "I prefer not to. I like to analyse individual performances when I can say phenomenal performance." Despite Chelsea racking up an impressive 21 shots at goal against Palace, Julian Speroni had just two efforts to deal with. It spoke volumes for the away side's sloppiness in front of goal and added considerable weight to the notion that Chelsea are a clinical striker away from real success.

3) Width From Full-Back

While there is little that Mourinho can do to address Chelsea's striker conundrum mid-season, there are other areas of frustration. Wastefulness from full-back proved a problem on Saturday. Cesar Azpilicueta created one excellent opportunity from left-back but saw little of the ball in comparison with Branislav Ivanovic on the right - and that was an issue for Chelsea.

Ivanovic has been something of a revelation in belying his build to prove an effective outlet at full-back, but this was not his finest outing. He often found himself in space as Yannick Bolasie failed to track back, but struggled to take advantage of this opportunity - completing none of his frequently wayward crosses.

Although Ivanovic remains a robust option, if Chelsea are to break down teams on a more regular basis, there must be a temptation to restore Ashley Cole and switch Azpilicueta back to right-back when the England man is fit once again.

4) Squad Strength

Of course, Cole's current unavailability highlights an unusual problem afflicting Chelsea at present - a lack of squad depth. Tomas Kalas was the only defender on the bench at Selhurst Park, while one wonders whether Mourinho was completely comfortable in throwing on newcomer Mohamed Salah at such a crucial juncture of the season as he was obviously trying to save Willian for Wednesday's clash with PSG.

5) Lack Of Belief

"Their spirit and desire was stronger," said Mourinho after the game. The Chelsea boss has done a fine job of taking the pressure off his players this season. But those actions might just prove a double-edged sword. After all, given his comments, he can hardly blame his team if they now lack the utter conviction required to come through those tough moments and win the title. Chelsea are still in it, but as Mourinho told us all along, it seems likely they won't quite have enough to go all the way.

Adam Bate - follow him on Twitter here

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Latest Photos

Footer 365

League One: Colchester United part company with manager Joe Dunne

League One side Colchester United have parted company with manager Joe Dunne.

Transfer news: Manchester City defender Micah Richards set for Fiorentina loan

Manchester City defender Micah Richards has arrived in Florence ahead of a proposed loan move to Fiorentina.

Transfer news: Karim El Ahmadi leaves Aston Villa to rejoin Feyenoord

Midfielder Karim El Ahmadi has left Aston Villa to rejoin former club Feyenoord for an undisclosed fee.

Mail Box

Wenger: The Most Stubborn Manager Going

Arsenal fans would quite like their club to sign a striker thank you very much, whilst someone is excited about Jim White et al. Plus, Klose to Arsenal please...

Finding It Harder To Defend United

We have some Sunday thoughts on Manchester United's latest league point, plus farewells offered to Daniel Agger (fond) and Fernando Torres (less so)...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property