1) Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard was an iconic Chelsea player. The clubs top ever goal scorer who excelled during the clubs greatest ever period of trophy winning. Lampard left the club in order to play in the MLS only to spend last season on loan at Man City. He was past his best but the club never managed to replace him and as a result now lack goals from midfield. Last season Oscar only scored six, Fabregas three and Ramires two. This was a paltry return. Chelsea play a lot of slow build up that often revolves around passing the ball about the box without anyone taking responsibility. Even Hazard only scored 14 last term. Lampard would always be liable to take a chance and score a goal. Chelsea badly miss goals from midfield on such a consistent basis.
2) Ricardo Carvalho
Ricardo Carvalho left Chelsea at the end of the 09/10 season and it is no shock that they then went five seasons without winning the title. Chelsea never replaced the Carvalho/Terry partnership that proved costly. Terry is now way past it and it shows that they’ve not replaced him by the fact that they desperately chased a £40 million move for John Stones in the summer. Carvalho’s replacements were David Luiz (a failed signing, despite the huge money they got for him) and then Gary Cahil, who is solid but nowhere near a top class defender. He’s at best a decent squad player but instead has been regularly starting games for the side.
3) Ashley Cole
Cesar Azpilicueta has done a decent job as a left back but he is not the level Ashley Cole was. He can’t offer the same level going up and down the pitch. The fact he’s right footed means he’s always inclined to cut inside rather than overlap. Defensively Cole was one of the best around. Few could make a claim for Azpilicueta being one of the best left-backs int he world, even if he is a solid option. Cole gave Chelsea several top years, Azpilicueta looks like a very good make-shift full-back. The club spending a combined £30 million plus on Baba Rahman and Filipe Luis suggest they know that they need to bring someone in.
4) Didier Drogba
Drogba was Chelsea’s elite level forward for a long time, even coming back for one last chance at glory last season. Chelsea have struggled up front with Fernando Torres looking poor and cursed forwards like Radamel Falcao. Diego Costa was meant to be the long term replacement but he’s not as fit as Drogba and spends too much time either injured or suspended. Drogba was simply a different level to him. Chelsea’s failure to bring in a long term replacement for Drogba sooner led to them winning just one title since 09/10.