Hiddink factor fizzing out?

Gus Hiddink although an experienced manager and a veteran of the game, lacks the dynamism of someone like a Simeone or a Mourinho. It seems he has some ideas but is too afraid to experiment. The current plight of Chelsea Football club although improved under Hiddink initially still remains one with question marks. Our defensive frailties were much exposed during the first half of the season although somewhat diminished by the surge in performances during the initial few months under Gus, has somewhat fizzled out.

We have conceded an unthinkable (at least in terms of Chelsea of old) 39 goals already this season (not to mention the one we just conceded against West Ham), a far cry from the defensive stronghold we once were considered to be.

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Hiddink factor not working anymore?

 

Starting cautiously, with a string of draws and intermittent  wins in between, our performances have dipped again of late with a heartbreaking defeat to PSG and an embarrassing loss to Everton, eliminating us from the FA Cup as well.  With no trophies to fight for this season, the only positive come May can be in the form of a Europa League berth. This although looks a long shot, is still mathematically possible with 10 more games to go. But, with Diego Costa banned for 2 matches and Eden Hazard on the sidelines due to a hip injury, it looks slightly daunting to achieve.

Even if we qualify for Europa, would we seriously want that? With a team in transition, wouldn’t it be better to refrain from the stresses of playing in Europe and concentrate on the English Premier League? I personally believe that it’d do us a world of good to stay away from Europa league next season.

PS: Read this post on We Ain’t Got no History

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Europe Next Season? Yay or Nay!

Over the years, we have become accustomed to seeing Chelsea at the very top of English football decimating teams all over England and Europe. Chelsea has been the best ranked English team in the UEFA rankings for quite some time now which only goes to show our consistency in Europe season after season. As such, this season’s debacle is hard to swallow which is even more mind-boggling when considering the fact that we were league champions last season and Champions League Semi-Finalists.

We, as Chelsea fans have become spoilt over the years, winning 4 League titles in a short duration, winning the Champions League and making into UCL finals twice. This makes our capacity to digest absence from UCL next season even more daunting.

For years, I’ve laughed at Liverpool, what with their delusions of grandeur. They expect to win trophies every year. They start the season believing they’re favourites for the title, being linked with world-class stars every year. It’s hilarious but I’m not laughing now.

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

With no Champions League next season, I do not believe Chelsea have the pulling capacity to bring in world-class players they had in the recent seasons, even with the imminent arrival of Antonio Conte. With FFP regulations and the onus of balancing our books, we cannot spend more than we earn.

There seems to a general consensus amongst Chelsea fans that there won’t be any garage sale at the Bridge this summer but I wonder if it isn’t a delusion. There certainly won’t be many better keepers than Courtois available in the market.  Conversely, do we expect Courtois to turn down any decent offer for a move away from Chelsea in the form of money, European football and a chance of winning trophies? Same goes for others as well. How many of these vacant spots can we fill realistically? Why would any top player want to join us? What if big bids come in for the likes of Costa and Hazard, does anyone expects us to hold a player against their wishes and regardless of what is on offer? We have a stadium to pay for, books to balance. I believe, when the bids come in, business will surely be done. There’ll be a lot of churning at the Bridge this summer and we might not come out on top.

So, to believe that this season was just a blip and we still hold enough pulling power to bring in top talent is a farce. We need drastic changes and a move away from the rampant mismanagement we’ve seen over the past few years. We would have to act early in the summer, identify viable targets and go with the decision. Offloading players would be necessary as we cannot keep knocking off bids for our stars.

I believe getting into top four next season won’t be easy and it wouldn’t be the World class stars that’ll do it for us. We’d have to rely on our young stars to get us there and it might take longer than expected to reach there.

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!

PS: Read this post on We Ain’t Got no History