Special One or CONfidence Man?

by Paul O'Donnell

The self-styled "special one" of Chelsea has recently been brought back to solid ground on planet earth. However, he continues to try to "sell" the recent missed opportunities of his mega-million dollar Blues to close the gap on Manchester United at the top of the EPL. Those that can see clearly will realize the tactic in play here as he attempts to deflect his own and his team’s failure to take full advantage as he now says that "United have blown it" if you can believe that. Hmmm, three consecutive draws means his team has dropped 6 points and he says United has blown it. Interesting to say the least. Delusional would be more accurate.

The deficit his team faced ten days ago was only 2 points and that number "2" keeps popping up in his distorted field of vision in this tale of missed chances. The most recent of course was the lost 2 points at Aston Villa as the match most would classify as must win ended in a scoreless deadlock. Coming on the heels of United’s 2-2 draw (there’s that number again) at St James’ Park Chelsea was gifted a chance to reduce their deficit and for the first time this season the Blues failed to score a goal. Champions rise to the occasion and take advantage of such opportunities and Chelsea didn’t do that. But, according to the special one United blew it.

That’s not the end of the string of lost opportunities either, it’s only the most recent. The two previous games against teams that they were surely supposed to defeat, Fulham and Reading, both ended in 2-2 draws (yes, that number again). More points lost simple as that. Credit to both Fulham and the upstart Reading Royals but no matter how you slice the pie those were key games where Chelsea was expected to win and did not. More points dropped, 2 at a time, as the deficit goes from 2 points to 6.

So what’s really wrong at Stamford Bridge? Is Mourinho really that "special one" or is he as blind as a bat these days? He says his team is sputtering because John Terry has been missing and that surely is a big spot to fill. And that Petr Cech isn’t there in goal. True enough but he’s been missing since September.

Plus, in case you didn’t notice neither of them score many goals. With both of them off the pitch you would expect to concede more often and they certainly have. But, knowing that, you’d also expect the mega-million dollar front men like Ballack and Schevchenko that you added to last years championship team would do the job you got them to do, break down the other side and score goals. Neither have done that job for Chelsea as they’ve scored 12 fewer goals than Man United. When they added those two in the off season to the dominant team Chelsea had become it seemed almost a sure thing that they’d win the title for a third time. As it stands right now they have been not only a huge disappointment you could say their addition has disrupted what was a dominant and supremely confident team.

In recent appearances Schevchenko has been horrible and Ballack hasn’t been much better than that either though he was suspended from the Villa match for card accumulation. On top of that their presence has also meant the wonderful talent of Sean Wright-Phillips has been missing as well. When he has been in the team his performance has suffered simply because he hasn’t been playing enough to be at his best (only 4 games in the starting 11 out of 22).

It has been almost a travesty to see the super human efforts of Michael Essien to inspire his team (he has played every minute of every game) and the chances missed by what used to be a clinical and decisive Frank Lampard go astray. The individual brilliance of Arjen Robben goes to waste and the broad shoulders of the league leading scorer Didier Drogba just seems to be not quite enough to get them to the top. The lack of quality contributions from both Schevchenko and Ballack have been influential in destroying that rare commodity that Chelsea used to have on display match after match regardless of the competition.

Confidence, that elusive quality that we see in a team on top of their game, and Chelsea just don’t have it this year. And despite Jose’s trying to appear supremely confident his game seems transparent at this stage and almost silly. Plus, he’s up against the master of psyche in SAF and in that game he’s sure to lose.

I’m confident of that.