Opinion: Terry, Fàbregas and the questions posed by Chelsea’s disastrous start to the season

Thirteenth in the league, four points from four games, and with their closest rivals having strengthened across the board, it has been a season to forget so far for Chelsea.

It is early days, but with two defeats and a draw suffered already, Jose Mourinho will be deeply concerned at the lack of form shown by last season’s Premier League and League Cup winners.

What’s more, with the international break now upon us and most of his players away with their countries, Mourinho is left with little time to work on his side’s deficiencies before travelling to Everton next Saturday.

The biggest of these concerns is the defence, something clearly recognised by the club and seen in their desperate pursuit of Everton’s John Stones.

Holding 15 clean sheets on the way to the Premier League title last season, this year they have looked unfit and unorganised, conceding nine goals in their first four games, and failing to record a single clean sheet.

This, in conjunction with John Terry being subbed by Mourinho for the first time ever in the 3-0 defeat away to Manchester City, suggests that this Chelsea defence is a far cry from the one that was awarded three out of the four defender positions in last year’s PFA team of the year.

The performances of Cesc Fàbregas have also been disappointing. The most prolific provider of assists in the 2014/2015 season has underperformed so far, offering no goals and no assists.

While this could be due to being played slightly further up the pitch this season, a player as decorated as Fàbregas has little room for excuses, and a lot of room for improvement.

There are still reasons for optimism, notably the signing of Pedro. The diminutive Spaniard has started very brightly, scoring one and assisting another in the victory away to West Bromwich Albion.

With a point to prove after languishing on the bench at Barcelona, Pedro has shown exactly the combination of pace and tenacity required to be a success in the Premier League.

Another signing that offers some hope is Ghanaian left back Baba Rahman, who will offer options to change the creaking defence.

But outside of those two, the recruitment has not been inspiring.

Radamel Falcao has yet to show anything that suggests he is more than a back up for Diego Costa, while the signing of Asmir Begovic is a notable downgrade on previous deputy goalkeeper Petr Cech.

While not known for their expansive football, sides managed by Mourinho have always been defensively sound, and nearly always been winners, so the Blues find themselves in an unsual situation.

But with eight trophies in five years at Chelsea, Mourinho has more than enough experience to turn this around and the defending champions should not be written off just yet.

Feature image courtesy of Chelsea TV, via Youtube, with thanks

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