1) The Eva Carneiro dispute
Chelsea started the season with a ridiculous off field saga. Eva Carneiro, regarded by many as a leading medical professional in Premier League football, was criticized by Jose Mourinho. Mourinho vilified her in what was arguably (yet not proven) to have been a sexist attack after she reduced Chelsea to nine men, in line with the medical rules. Mourinho lost it though and ended up dropping Carneiro from first team duties, disrupting the squad and creating an distasteful off-field saga that carried on right up until now. This started the season off on a negative footing and Chelsea haven’t recovered from that opening day debacle.
2) Dropping John Terry not Gary Cahill
John Terry hasn’t been good. He wasn’t good on his return against Southampton. But, Gary Cahill was also awful and has been all season. Cahill was worse than Terry in both the fixture on Saturday and also in a lot of other fixtures yet has retained his position in the side. He is not a reliable performer at a top level and was guilty of losing Pelle for the Southampton second goal and generally being way off of the pace. Chelsea lack pave with the two English defenders so need Kurt Zouma to inject pace. The best pairing is probably Terry and Zouma, not Zouma and Cahill.
3) Refusing to drop Branislav Ivanovic
Loyalty to Ivanovic has been strange. He was given the captain’s armband when Terry was moved out of the side, yet the right back continued to look poor. From the opening day against Swansea he has been skinned week in week out by left wingers, struggling to recover or find a strong position. Opposition teams are targeting the right back who is now too slow having aged a year since his solidity last season. Clearly he needs a rest or at least to be taken out of the firing line. Baba Rahman should be given a go at left back with Azpilicueta shifted to right back.
4) No plan B
The lack of plan B and loyalty to the 4-2-3-1 formation has been dismaying. Chelsea have been awful in this formation this season and it appears to be part of the issue, yet Mourinho has remained loyal to it. There hasn’t been any great tactical reshuffles and with a plethora of attacking midfielders and a lack of good central midfielders this is all Mourinho has offered up. Personnel has changed but the results have not, nor has the formation. Mourinho needs to get back to the drawing board and come up with something new. Or risk ruining his legacy at Chelsea.