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Darren Lewis: Chelsea are just as bad as Aston Villa ahead of P45 derby

15 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Darren Lewis: Chelsea are just as bad as Aston Villa ahead of P45 derby

The visitors have lost six in seven in the league, but Jose Mourinho's side are there for the taking on Saturday, says the Mirror sports writer

On the face of it they couldn’t have rustled up better opposition if they tried.

In reality Chelsea are in just as bad a state as Aston Villa.

Tim Sherwood’s men have lost six of their last seven Premier League games to push him to the brink. Already.

The Midlands side are third from bottom with plunging morale and eight goals conceded in their four away games so far.

All that is before you even get to the blame game behind the scenes over the calibre of the club’s summer signings.

Yet what should have been an ideal opportunity for the champions to get their calamitous start to the season back on track is anything but.

You’ll already know the stats by now. Chelsea have won just two of their eight games so far, losing four, and are closer to the bottom of the Premier League than the top.

First choice goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, is out until December while the current side is knee deep in poor form and fragile confidence.

Particularly given the howler from Asmir Begovic in the narrow win for Bosnia over Cyprus on Tuesday night.

The Champions’ keeper somehow allowed a powder-puff effort from Constantinos Charalambidis past him to make the Euro 2016 qualifier between the two sides far tighter than it should have been.

It would appear the Chelsea’s players are in a competition to find out which one of them is able to produce the worst display of this first third of the season.

John Terry was up first, rolling out the welcome mat for Sergio Aguero at Manchester City and responding to a call back into the side to face Southampton by choking in the dust left by Sadio Mane.

Branislav Ivanovic has been embarrassed by Jefferson Montero, Raheem Sterling. Bakary Sako, Dusan Tadic among the many opponents he has faced so far.

The enforced lay-off for the Blues defender, sidelined with a hamstring injury, could not have come at a better time.

Ball-surrendering Nemanja Matic lasted just 26 minutes after being thrown on as a second-half substitute against Southampton just before the international break.

Matic was sent off in Serbia’s defeat to Portugal on Sunday.

Willian provided a glimmer of hope with a goal after just 40 seconds as Brazil beat Venezuela 3-1 in their World Cup qualifier.

But Cesc Fabregas, with Jose Mourinho watching in Kiev, missed his fourth penalty in as many attempts at international level as Spain beat Ukraine 1-0.

So the gaffe from Begovic was pretty much the icing on the cake.

As bad as Aston Villa might be, Chelsea are there for the taking on Saturday.

Morale is low, confidence is fragile and the first goal in what is a battle for both managers to save their jobs – could be key.

The backing for Jose Mourinho from within Stamford Bridge has been impressive since his eye-catching, seven-minute answer to a single question in his interview after the Southampton defeat.

It has been described as a rant but it was more an attempt by the Portuguese to own a situation that had been threatening to spiral out of control.

And it worked.

Roman Abramovich gave the green light to a statement backing the Special One – the first time an under-pressure boss has had any kind of endorsement from the Russian during his time there.

Mourinho has a staunch ally upstairs in Marina Granovskaia, Abramovich’s representative, while more than half the first-team players in the Blues squad have spoken out in his favour, insisting he remains the right man to lead the club.

Diego Costa even took one for the team, admitting he returned from pre-season looking as overweight as his tea-serving lookalike on Twitter doing the rounds on various Vines.

Cesc Fabregas weighed in. So too did Ramires, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and even skipper John Terry who gave an interview to the club website pledging his allegiance.

The trouble is, the time for talking is over. Now it is performances that matter.

The Blues board will have seen just how tough (and expensive) it has been even for a club of Manchester United’s standing to lure first the coach then the players good enough to get them back into the Champions League.

As things stand, the stats are very much against Chelsea. No Premier League team in history has ever made it into the top four with eight points after eight games.

With Arsenal inconsistent, however, Sergio Aguero injured for City and United reliant on a teenager and an England captain looking past his best, there is hope.

Mourinho is right.

If Chelsea sack him they will continue their cycle of short-termism that has seen them take two steps back after points over the last decade where they could have gone on to build something special.

But there are other top-line bosses out there.

Men such as free agent Carlo Ancelotti (who won the Double at Stamford Bridge), Pep Guardiola (whose contract is running down at Bayern Munich) and Diego Simeone who are comparable to the Special One.

Aston Villa have won at Chelsea just once in the last 13 years (they were beaten 8-0 there two years ago and 7-1 in 2010).

If Sherwood’s men were to get him out of trouble this weekend the Blues players may have to start clearing their throats again.

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