Comment: Chelsea’s weakness? You’re taking the Mikel

It’s all going right for Chelsea at the moment.

Mourinho’s men are five points clear at the top of the table, unbeaten in all competitions and their two top summer acquisitions have gelled perfectly.

But is there a chink in the seemingly impenetrable blue armour?

A key contributing factor to Chelsea’s stunning start has been the performances of midfielder Nemanja Matic.

Having been re-signed in January, the Serbian has established himself as the club’s first choice in the ‘The Makelele role’ – named as such after the ex-Chelsea star.

But when Matic first signed for Chelsea back in 2009 – before a three-year stint at Benfica – his debut was delayed due to injury.

Here lies the possible problem for The Blues. Jose prides himself on having world class cover in every position.

But should Matic pick up a long-term injury, Blues’ back-up – John Obi Mikel – could leave the Chelsea defence looking comparatively exposed.

Mikel has made 315 appearances, scoring four goals, in eight years at Stamford Bridge.

Despite his experience, the Nigerian hasn’t always been a fans’ favourite at the Bridge and his position came into question with Matic’s arrival in the January transfer window.

Comparing their performances last season, having had a similar amount of game time, Matic made 267 more passes, won double the amount of duels and 14% more in the air.

Mikel has made just one start this season, in the Capital One Cup, and a handful of substitute appearances.

Meanwhile, Matic has started every game for West Londoners scoring two goals in the process.

If kept fit this campaign, the 6ft 4in Serbian will be odds on to gain his first silverware at Stamford Bridge and is already an early contender for Blues’ player of the season.

But I’m sure Mr Costa and Mr Fabregas will have something to say about that – starting at Crystal Palace this weekend.

Good luck Neil Warnock.

Feature picture courtesy of Brent Flander, with thanks

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