Chelsea’s Lack of Character

Mourinho ChelseaJust over a month ago, Jose Mourinho accused his players of lacking personality and character after they surrendered a winning position against West Brom at the Hawthorns.

After Saturday’s defeat at Aston Villa, the Portuguese manager may have had very similar thoughts.

Indeed, any such feelings will surely be amplified on a day when title rivals Manchester City won away to Hull, where they played for 75 minutes with ten men – how is that for personality?

In a way, we shouldn’t be too surprised by Saturday’s defeat. Bizarrely, for such a successful manager, Mourinho is something of a “specialist in failure” (to coin a phrase) when it comes to Villa Park, having failed to win in any of his previous 6 visits, a run of 3 draws and 3 defeats.

By extending that run to 7, Paul Lambert’s side have dented Chelsea’s title hopes and rather backed up Mourinho’s previous assertions that his side were not the kind of “complete” team who would normally be considered title favourites.

The home manager will doubtless be delighted with such an unexpected 3 points. Villa are now 9 points above the relegation zone and within touching distance of safety. The last time I wrote about Lambert’s men, it was after their impressive draw at Anfield back in January.

On that evening, they surprised their hosts by playing much more aggressively and much higher up the pitch than normal, with their eager midfield swarming all over their hosts in areas of the pitch where Liverpool would have expected a lot more freedom. Against Chelsea, Villa reverted to type, conceding ground to their visitors but always looking for chances to break with pace.

It was just such a break that saw midfield man of the match Fabian Delph nudged off the ball by Willian in what turned out to be the game’s turning point. The Brazilian was unfortunate to receive a second yellow – but Delph had been causing Chelsea’s midfield similar problems all evening.

Ten minutes later, the former Leeds man was at it again – after winning the ball on half way, he  switched it wide to Marc Albrighton, before continuing his run unchallenged into the Chelsea box and finishing the wide man’s pull back with a deliciously deft flick.

Mourinho will surely be annoyed to have seen two players red carded (if Willian was unfortunate, then Ramires certainly wasn’t), but of greater concern was that even with 11 men on the pitch, Chelsea never seriously threatened Guzan’s goal.

With Hazard well shackled for much of the game by the excellent Bacuna, and Torres toothless yet again, it was hard to see where goals might come from. Chelsea have done extremely well to be table toppers without a consistent goal scoring threat, but that weakness may yet derail their challenge.

And on a day where Manchester City upped the ante despite a serious handicap, Mourinho will know that even though Willian’s red card was contentious, it didn’t have to be fatal. The Portuguese manager certainly doesn’t lack for “personality” – but does he have enough for everyone in Blue?

Author Details

Paul Little

Freelance football columnist. European Football with the Irish Daily Star. Hold the Back Page podcast regular. Family and Renaissance Man. Dublin born, Wicklow resident.

4 thoughts on “Chelsea’s Lack of Character

  1. Paul I can only assume freelance a pseudonym for nobody will actually hire me. Twice in your piece you reference Man City, just for the record how did they get on at Villa this season; with 11 men I believe. Do yourself a favour if you are going to introduce comparisons within your piece at least make them a little more robust. BTW looking at the table today I believe it is Chelsea not Man City at the top, yes I know about the games in hand I would however prefer the points. In a season where it looked as if Man City would and most certainly should have galloped away with the league leaving all others in their wake I am more than a little surprised to see Chelsea where they are. This season was too soon for Chelsea to challenge Man City and the fact that they are says a lot for the capability and character of the manager and the players. In closing if a lay person can torpedo your inane ramblings with such ease I would assume the freelance title will be around for a long time to come.

  2. ^^^ wow, how defensive is this bloke? Starts off with a personal attack on the writer and then regurgitates José’s musings that Chelsea, despite being a squad that financially dopes and has resources rivaled only by Man City, shouldn’t be considered title contenders. What a laugh.

  3. I actually missed the last sentence first time round. Much like Chelsea’s manager, aren’t you a nasty, snide, cynical piece of work, DaddyBlue.

  4. Mike when someone identifies themselves as a freelance columnist they are laying claim to a level of expertise firstly in writing and secondly in reporting. If you don’t want to get shot at then don’t set yourself up as a target, this type of journalism is lazy in the extreme. As I have pointed out he attacks the character of Mourinho based on Chelsea’s performance compared with Manchester City. I would hasten to add that it is not only Mourinho who has indicated that City were the more likely to win the league as this was spouted by everybody with a supposed insight into football. From you response it is obvious you believed that Chelsea would/should win the league this season right from the get go and therefore made a substantial wager to that effect at the start of the season – not!!! If you are truly that precious then perhaps you should not read any further as the nasty, snide, cynical man may say something which will upset you further. Alternatively you could take your head out of wherever it is stuck and maybe then you will realise along with the author of the original piece that using Man City as a club to beat Chelsea was a little stupid as in the equivalent game Man City also lost and that as I have already stated Chelsea are in fact currently top of the league. I really hope you are keeping up here as I don’t want to have to go through this again.

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