The Challenges That Lie Ahead…

The Challenges That Lie Ahead…

When you look at the results that Chelsea have managed to compile so far this season, one cannot doubt the fact that we are now the team to beat. An attractive style of play combined with the “never-say-die” Chelsea spirit has seen us remain unbeaten in every major competition that we have been a part of so far. However, it is still early days in what is sure to be a long season. And while we have shown plenty of promise in the beginning of the season, we need to build on our solid start if we are to end the season with silverware.

In the Premier League, we sit comfortably on the top of the table with 19 points from 7 games. Of these 7 games, we only dropped points against QPR when the match at Loftus Road ended in a goal-less draw. Otherwise, Chelsea have efficiently seen off all opposition and have not needed to “park the bus” to do so. Of course, that’s only looking at one side of the story.

The fact remains that Chelsea have not yet faced any potential title challengers in the Premier League besides Arsenal (and lets face facts, they haven’t won a trophy in years). The other matches we played were against Wigan, Reading, Newcastle, QPR, Stoke & Norwich i.e. teams we were expected to beat. And we have struggled a bit against quality opposition so far this season. A 3-2 loss to City in the Community Shield, a 4-1 thumping at the hands of Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup and a 2-2 draw against Juventus in our Champions League opener at Stamford Bridge shows that Chelsea as a side are still very much a work-in-progress. Despite fielding a strong XI in all of the matches I mentioned, we made basic mistakes that eventually cost us. In the Community Shield, a red card to Ivanovic meant we played the 2nd half with 10 men. I’ll not even go into details of the match against Atletico as it was a complete disaster. Against Juventus, both goals were avoidable and were mostly down to Chelsea being poor rather than Juventus being brilliant. To make matters worse, Chelsea face a string of tricky fixtures after the international break. Spurs away from home, a Champions League double header against Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester United twice in 4 days (once in the Premier League and once in the Capital One Cup) await us in October. November won’t be an easy month either, with matches against Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League and a tricky away fixture in the Champions League against Juventus awaiting the Blues.

However, there are many positives that we can take from our brilliant start to this campaign. Despite the fact that we may have struggled against top quality opposition, it’s fair to say that we have improved considerably as a side since the beginning of the season. The team has come a long way since that 4-1 defeat at the hands of Atletico. Proof of that is in the way we saw off Arsenal. The Gunners were also unbeaten prior to the match against Chelsea and had looked solid in defence. However, against Chelsea they conceded 2 goals from set-pieces, hardly the mark of a side that is defensively solid. Also, we can’t deny the fact that Chelsea are still a side that is coming to grips with a new style of play. The fact that we have managed to churn out the results despite not playing to the best of our potential is commendable. It was what we were lacking last season under AVB. The team played well enough and displayed signs of attacking flair but failed to win matches. That’s not been the case this season as we have been getting the right results when it mattered. And we must keep doing this until Chelsea’s transition into an exciting and attacking side is complete. That is the real challenge that lies ahead for Chelsea Football Club.

Shayne Dias

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