1) Get the best out of Costa
A huge factor in the rise and fall of Jose Mourinho has been Diego Costa. The forward was brilliant for the first half of last season and his 20 league goals helped secure the title for Chelsea. Yet, his decline in form in 2015 has been a key factor in their recent slump with Costa looking out of sorts. His runs have been poor, he’s looked very unfit and he’s spent too much time suspended. Chelsea lack alternative options with Radamel Falcao completely out of form and fitness and Loic Remy not good enough to lead the line long term. If Costa can regain his form that’d make a huge difference to Chelsea’s form.
2) Organize the defence
Last season Chelsea had the best defensive record in the league but this season their inability to keep clean sheets has been a key factor in their decline. Chelsea have been out of sorts at the back. The back four has looked sluggish and slow. Branislav Ivanovic has been in terrible form and looked incredibly low on confidence when defending on the back foot. He did score on Saturday but Chelsea did struggle defensively at times, conceding a goal and having a few slow moments.
3) Find a midfield balance
Chelsea’s midfield balance has not looked right all season. The side have been poorly balanced with Cesc Fabregas in particular representing a problem for Chelsea. His inability to perform effectively when not in possession has limited Chelsea defensively. Unfortunately Nemanja Matic has been severely off form, when he’s on song he can cover the space and perform the role of both players in defensive terms. His form is integral to Chelsea’s form. Yet he’s been very poor and the balance hasn’t looked right. Ramires isn’t good enough on the ball.
4) Squad rotation
One of Mourinho’s biggest problems was that he did not rotate the squad enough. Relying on a core of 14 players or so he burnt them out and took them to the edge. Mourinho didn’t use the squad players yet when there was an injury he expected players such as Andre Schurrle or Mo Salah (last season) to come in and do a job, yet would be angry when they didn’t. He used the squad more this year but hurt players confidence with his ruthless streak. This lost Kevin De Bruyne, Schurrle etc. Hiddink needs to fill the squad with confidence and get the most out of the squad.