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The five crucial games that dictated Chelsea’s downfall

Photo courtesy: YouTube
Photo courtesy: YouTube
Photo courtesy: YouTube

First, the scenario: Chelsea have lost 9 Premier League matches out of the 16 they have played. They have amassed a grand total of 15 points so far, and sit one solitary point above the relegation zone. Their heroes from last year’s title-winning season have been pale, non-existent shadows of their former selves, and their manager, once so influential and charismatic, has been relieved of his duties in what is a stark, unceremonious exit from the club.

So, where did it go all wrong for Chelsea and Jose Mourinho?

There have been off-field incidents that have left sour tastes in everybody’s mouths at the club. Take the Eva Carneiro incident, for example. A medical officer doing her duty at the referee’s bidding was made the subject of ridicule by a fuming Jose Mourinho. She reacted by slapping a case against the club, the legal proceedings of which are still, well, proceeding. Then there have been the umpteen niggling bust-ups, most notably between Diego Costa and Jose Mourinho, which have done absolutely nothing to boost team morale.

While these incidents have led to an unsettled club, they aren’t the only reasons why Chelsea have embarked upon perhaps the worst title defence in recent footballing history. The real reason is simple: Chelsea have been simply woeful on the football pitch.

We take a look back at Chelsea’s season so far and identify those crucial games, the results of which have hurled the London club into the depths of the Premier League table.

Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City: Aug 8, 2015

It was the first game of the season. Chelsea, fresh from lifting the Premiership a few months ago, were raring to go and begin their title defense. However, like the season before, Swansea sprang a surprise, pulling back goals each time Chelsea went in front. It was a frustrating campaign opener for Jose Mourinho, which saw the Eva Carneiro incident happen when Eden Hazard went down injured as well as a Thibaut Courtois red card. The clouds had begun to gather on the Blues.

Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea: Aug 16, 2015

Jose Mourinho would say at the game that the scoreline was a “complete fake”. He was right. While the Chelsea manager meant that the scoreline didn’t reflect Chelsea’s efforts, what it really did not reflect was that City could have score, much more, had it not been for the heroics of Asmir Begovic, deputising for Thibaut Courtois in goal.

Chelsea 1-3 Southampton: October 3, 2015

A season to forget continued for Jose Mourinho’s men. Willian scored first for Chelsea, sparking scenes of jubilation. But it all went quiet and despondent when the Saints went marching in, scoring three goals and closing out the match. Mourinho’s flirting with the dreaded ‘sack’ began from this game. He said after the match: “It is a crucial moment in the history of this club… You know why? Because if they sack me, they sack the best manager this club has had.”

Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool: Oct 31, 2015

The events against Southampton were repeated when Liverpool came visiting. Once again Chelsea took the lead, and once again they let in three in the back. Jurgen Klopp’s first win as Liverpool manager exacerbated the pain Mourinho was feeling. The post-match conference was bizarre – the Chelsea boss answered every question thrown at him with “I have nothing to say”.

Leicester City 2-1 Chelsea, Dec 14, 2015

It only got worse for against league leaders Leicester City, in a game that turned out to be the last in charge for Jose Mourinho. There were mistakes galore, from John Terry to Kurt Zouma to Cesar Azpilicueta. Diego Costa was conspicuous by his absence despite being on the pitch and Eden Hazard decided he had nothing to do with the game, limping off after 30 minutes. In the end, Jamie Vardy ended his goal drought that lasted one game, and Riyad Mahrez proved why he is the next big superstar of world football, as Leicester took a two-goal lead. Chelsea pulled one back, but by then the coffin had been nailed shut. After the game, Mourinho made a statement that could well be his last: “I did an amazing job last season and brought the players to a level that is not their level and now they can’t maintain it … I feel like my work was betrayed.”

In the end, the Chelsea management decided enough was enough, and, in a statement to the media three days later, announced Mourinho and the club had parted ways for good.

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