by Shubhayan Sengupta

The situation looks very bad in a certain part of west London. After losing against Everton which put them into 5th place, Chelsea’s Champions League aspirations for next season look to be in danger. So let’s try and answer the much asked question, “What IS wrong with Chelsea this season??”

1. A manager who still doesn’t know his starting XI

40 odd matches into the season and Chelsea manager, Andre Villas Boas STILL does not know the best starting XI for his team. Continuous changes to the defence, a set of midfielders who individually are great but together just don’t glue together, a striker who still can’t score and overall an old team which has looked well beyond their prime on some occasions.

2. Lack of respect for the manager 

Andre Villas Boas’ decision to rest senior players has not gone down well with some. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba have already indicated (albeit indirectly) that they are not happy with the amount of first-team action they are getting and have sent out feelers that if they do not get the playing time it might be time to seek new playing fields.

3. Suicidal defence

When Chelsea won the Premier League/FA Cup double in 2010, they lost only 6 matches in the Premier league that season. This season, Chelsea have already lost 6 matches in the Premier League with 13 matches still left to play. John Terry and in some matches Branislav Ivanovic have been the positives in the defensive area. David Luiz has been caught ball-watching many times (against Manchester United which led Hernandes to score the 3rd goal ) and his ability to self-destruct in the penalty area has been well-documented. Alex has already been sold and the manager refuses to play new signing, Gary Cahill. Also, Villas-Boas’ decision to play a high line of defence has resulted in the opposition taking advantage of this. (Glen Johnson’s goal for Liverpool in the Premier League)

4. The strike force

Torres still cannot score, Villas-Boas refuses to play Sturridge in a more central position, the problems are endless. The fact that Chelsea’s highest scorer this season has been a midfielder (Frank Lampard) is reason enough to how bad Chelsea’s strike force has become. From the times of Zola,Hasselbaink and Gudjonsen to Drogba, Torres and Sturridge, Chelsea’s strike force has just gone from bad to worse this season. And the countless number of Torres jokes on the web are evidence of it.

5. Lack of a proper midfield

And now, the root of all their problems, the midfield. Mata who was sensational at times early on in the season now looks anonymous, Frank Lampard’s age has clearly caught up with him, Raul Meireles has been unable to make any impact in any game, Romeu has been in and out of the team, Mikel cannot attack or defend, the problems are endless. The midfield simply does not have the imposing stature it once had under Makelele and Essien and they have not been able to keep possession, something they could do not too long back.

With Roman Abramovich getting increasingly impatient, Andre Villas-Boas has to indeed do something to turn Chelsea’s fortunes head or he could be on his way to the chopping block at the end of the season.