Crisis is a word devalued by overuse in modern football but few would argue Chelsea aren’t teetering towards such a state. Antonio Conte’s reign at the club appears to be hurtling towards a summer conclusion and the Blues are struggling for air as they juggle a particularly hectic run of fixtures.
The capital club looked physically jaded at the Emirates during their League Cup exit to Arsenal. It can be no great surprise that was possible last season with no European football has proved impossible to replicate with a similarly sized squad this time around.
Conte’s constant pleas for financial backing and new faces to bulk out his squad for such challenges have fallen upon death ears and Chelsea simply have failed to cope with this season’s demands. Wednesday night’s match with Bournemouth will be their 21st fixture in 71 days since November’s international break.
Against Arsenal, Conte was out-manoeuvred by Arsene Wenger and the pressure is now cranking up on the Blues boss to lift spirits ahead of a rigorous upcoming schedule that includes Champions League ties with Barcelona.
The markets haven’t taken into account such exertions and whilst Chelsea’s results remain reasonably strong – only three defeats in 22 – they simply haven’t performed with aplomb in attacking areas for quite some time.
Wednesday’s hosts have scored more than once in just four of their last 10 at Stamford Bridge and three of those occasions came against bottom-six dwellers. Indeed, three of their past six triumphs on their own patch arrived by the 1-0 correct score and I’m not expecting the Blues to run riot over Bournemouth here.
- Under 3 Goals @ 2.10