Yesterday, Chelsea played Fulham to a 1-1 draw, and they were fortunate to have a debatable penalty call go their way. This game showed some of the flaws in Chelsea and why, in my opinion, they need a desperate shake-up within the club.
The average age of the starting Chelsea lineup against Fulham was 27.4-years-old. This doesn’t look that old until you see some outliers within the lineup. John Terry is 31-years-old, Frank Lampard is 33-years-old, and Raul Meireles is 29-years-old. The lack of youth and creativity are hurting Chelsea and are primary reasons they have struggled greatly this season. They move the ball methodically, but run out of ideas once they get into the attacking third.
Chelsea is currently sixth in the table, which would keep them out of the Champions League next season. They also have a major task coming up in the Champions League tournament against Barcelona. After struggling against Fulham, their chances look slim at best to knock out Barcelona and advance to the final.
No matter how the season ends, Chelsea has some major moves to keep them relevant in both Europe and the Premier League. First of all, Roberto Di Matteo is most likely not going to be the manager next season. Even though the team has had some positive results under his leadership, there are several big names floating around. Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benetiz, and Pep Guardiola have all been mentioned with the job. However, I do not see either Guardiola or Mourinho switching from their current clubs.
The next issue that needs to be addressed is how to fix an aging squad. As I said above, there are several players who should be headed for the doors. These players include Torres, Malouda, Bosingwa, Drogba, and Meireles. All of these players are aging and have not been performing at a top-level anymore. Even though Torres is still relatively young, his form has been hard to ignore and Chelsea should cut their losses and try to get as much money back for him as they can.
Since all these players will be leaving Chelsea, once again in my opinion, the club will need to replace them. The ideal replacements would be younger players who have a bit of creativity. Some of the players reportedly on Chelsea’s radar are Edison Cavani, Demba Ba, Wesley Sneijder, and Arjen Robben. All of these players would fit in well with the team, while also adding creativity. They are also all under 30-years-old, but have loads of experience. An interesting storyline for the next transfer window would be if Robben would be willing to head back to Chelsea. He has stated earlier this season that he could possibly leave Bayern and it could be a potentially huge signing for Chelsea to bring the talented winger back to Stamford Bridge.
If Chelsea were even able to add two or three of these players, it would bring in new energy and style, and it would greatly improve the squad. Chelsea has already added Gary Cahill and Juan Mata, who have proved to be good signings. With a few more good transfers as well as getting rid of some of the older squad members, Chelsea could once again compete for Premier League titles. Currently, they are looking older and slower than the competition and a finish outside the top four would not be a good season with an owner who demands success and wants to compete for trophies domestically and in Europe.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
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