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Chelsea pray for luck and belief

Chelsea fans are desperate for a turnaround in 2016. Photo courtesy: Chelsea FC
Chelsea fans are desperate for a turnaround in 2016. Photo courtesy: Chelsea FC
Chelsea fans are desperate for a turnaround in 2016. Photo courtesy: Chelsea FC

If any team desperately needs a change in fortune, it’s Chelsea. The 2014-15 Premier League champions have been utterly hopeless in their title defense this season.

The London side have been struggling to escape being drawn into relegation conversations every week thanks to a run of woeful performances that has seen them lose 9 out of 17 games so far. While it is certain Chelsea will not be relegated, it is also a certainty they will not be able to retain their title. The Blues will hope 2016 brings with it the kind of luck that sees them win games for a change.

For the outsider with a bird’s eye view of the club, there is one glaring issue plaguing Chelsea this season: Morale. Chelsea players are struggling to turn in the sort of performances that won them the league last term, and it’s not due to a lack of quality. Two-time Chelsea Player of the Year Eden Hazard has been a ghost of his scintillating self. Diego Costa has let off-the-ball incidents affect his goal-scoring prowess. Cesc Fabregas has not been able to impact games as much as would have liked to. The likes of Loic Remy, Nemanja Matic, Oscar, Willian and Ramires, too haven’t shone. And new signing Pedro has only shown glimpses of his talent.

Chelsea’s is a squad full of undeniable talent. All they will pray for is an influence that can guide them to rediscover their belief.

And they have just the man in Guus Hiddink.

The Dutchman took temporary charge at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea parted ways with Jose Mourinho, incidentally the second time he is managing the club. The first time around was in 2009, when Luis Felipe Scolari was sacked, and Hiddink appointed interim manager.

Chelsea will hope Hiddink can deliver the kind of results he did in his first stint as boss. He lost only one game as manager (0-1 against Spurs), took the club to the Champions League semi-finals, where Barcelona knocked them out with a controversial 93rd-minute goal, and, in his final game in charge, won the Chelsea the FA Cup.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois believes his manager can bring Chelsea back to form: “He was here before, he did very well and I think he’s a very good manager. Hopefully together we can climb back up the table.”

And already, in their first game of the post-Mourinho era, Chelsea seem to have regained some of their vitality. Against fellow bottom-of-the-table-club Sunderland, they turned in a proper performance, scoring thrice in the first 50 minutes, and then seeing out the game, despite conceding a consolation goal.

The Blues will now hope that this result is the start of good things, and that by the time the season rolls to a halt in May, Chelsea finish at a respectable position in the league, and with the Champions League and FA Cup still up for grabs, with perhaps a trophy or two, as well.

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