Barclays Premier League Champions, Chelsea, were sat in 16th place a mere three points ago. Yet with a simple win over Aston Villa, they’ve managed to climb 5 places to 12th, two behind where Brendan Rodgers left Liverpool and new Reds manager Jurgen Klopp failed to escape from, 10th place.
As the current champions of the Premier League, expectations on Mourinho and his crop of players are even higher. With both Manchester United and Manchester City spending heavily over the summer, you would expect a challenge. With Manchester United spending out on young talents such as Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial, along with being able to keep world class goal keeper; David De Gea. Meanwhile City bolstered their squad with £49m signing Raheem Sterling and Kevin De-Bruyne. On the other hand, Chelsea have only acquired Falcao (who flopped at Manchester United last season), Asmir Begovic (who has been catastrophic so far), Pedro and Baba Rahman. Arguably with his initial impact, Pedro has done well so far but the only new signing to do so.
Bearing in mind, Chelsea’s first choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois received a 3 match ban at the beginning of the season and has since been injured, meaning it has been up to Asmir Begovic to step into the breach. A competent goalkeeper who guarded the goal at Stoke for many years, should be more than able to keep clean sheets behind Chelsea’s defence. Begovic has made 6 appearances in all competitions this season for Chelsea, only being able to keep 1 clean sheet and conceding an average of 2 goals per game.
Chelsea have also struggled going forward. Eden Hazard has been without a goal for 1035 minutes this season, despite finishing last season with 19 goals and 11 assists. Although it is important to not only blame Hazard, as Cesc Fabregas has currently scored 0 goals and provided 1 assist in 8 games. He also boasts a rather poor 55.6% shooting accuracy. Meanwhile, last season Fabregas boasted 3 goals and 18 assists in the BPL, but as the season is 10 months long there is still more than enough time for Chelsea to improve.
Mourinho making simple changes such as Rahman for Ivanovic, Zouma for Cahill and Loftus-Cheek for Hazard helped to earn them a 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday, along with the return of Diego Costa. The introduction of Loftus-Cheek and Kurt Zouma, may please some, to see young Chelsea prospects starting, especially after former Chelsea academy graduate Kevin DeBruyne’s explosive start to life at Manchester City. These changes by Mourinho display an example of a manager out of options, with nothing to lose but to blood some young athletes. Fortunately for Mourinho it worked in his favour and shows the strength in depth of his squad.
Considering these statistics, can we therefore blame Jose Mourinho for his players’ poor performances, or more do we blame the players themselves? With their economic value, they often escape too much ridicule, and you only see managers being sacked. The same debate is valid with Brendan Rodgers. It is true that Rodgers had been missing England international striker Daniel Sturridge and after the sale of world class talent Luis Suarez it is difficult to find such an equal replacement. This doesn’t mean it can go unnoticed that Rodgers has brought in rather mediocre players in response to losing winger Raheem Sterling, striker Luiz Suarez and striker Daniel Sturridge, the latter temporarily to injury. This summer however, Mourinho had an equally difficult task, to strengthen a title winning side. So far it wouldn’t be too farfetched to claim that Mourinho has failed to do this, until this week his side had been leaking goals they wouldn’t have conceded last season.
Then you have to look at the amounts spent by both Rodgers and Mourinho. For example, Rodgers had a combined expenditure of £50m spent on Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren from Southampton and a total 2014 expenditure of £116.8m. Along with player sales, it has left Liverpool with a net spend of £35.7m. Compare this to the expenditure of Chelsea, who brought in the likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic. While bringing in these far superior players, Mourinho still made a profit of £800k.
After this heavy spending on rather mediocre players, Liverpool managed a 6th place finish. All the while treating Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard with little respect and letting him move to LA Galaxy on a free transfer in the summer of 2015. If a manager wins you a league title, while bringing in quality players and making you a profit, it would be difficult to not treat him with some respect if at the beginning of the following season the team were not quite up to scratch. Moreover, it has been proven by Mourinho that one simple win can bring them up four places, just putting into perspective how fragile the league still is.
With reports that Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone could replace Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, how long does Mourinho have left? Although it will cost Abramovic and Chelsea £35.7m to sack Jose Mourinho, is that worth potentially missing out on not only a Champions League or Europa League finish, but a top 10 finish too? One certainty is that Roman Abramovic has sacked a lot more for a lot less, and although currently having the board’s backing, Jose Mourinho’s days are numbered.