Jose is losing his touch

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The aura, the air of invincibility that would intimidate opponents when they boasted a 77-game unbeaten Premier League run at Stamford Bridge, has vanished.

Everyone, including little Bournemouth, fancies their chances of toppling the champions and they quite often do.

Chelsea are a broken team and Mourinho cannot fix them. He has been pulling the wool over people’s eyes for weeks, promising a run of December results that would take them into contention for a top-four finish. This was not a good start.

The football served up by Chelsea on Saturday evening was diabolical. Where is the flair, the sense of adventure in an attacking front four possessing the creative talents of Eden Hazard, Willian, Oscar and Pedro?

There should be another dossier for Hazard this morning, this time reminding the PFA Player of the Year he ought to be having Adam Smith, Simon Francis, Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels for breakfast. Instead, there is egg on the face of this football club.

Glenn Murray, the Bournemouth substitute, made fools of Chelsea’s defence to score within two minutes of replacing Joshua King.

The crown has slipped at Chelsea and it’s been coming since they walloped Swansea City 5-0 on January 17 in one of the most complete displays under Mourinho.What we have now is a long list of individuals who no longer have the appetite nor the enthusiasm to bring this team back to life.

It is impossible to enjoy watching them, to buy into whatever it is Mourinho is trying to do, because he has tried every trick in the book. It is a wonder that owner Roman Abramovich, shifting awkwardly in his seat with each mind-numbing error, has not written the final chapter.

Eight defeats — by Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Everton, Southampton, West Ham, Liverpool, Stoke and Bournemouth — after 15 Premier League games is embarrassing.

On Wednesday, Chelsea face Mourinho’s former club Porto at Stamford Bridge and defeat would almost certainly consign them to the Europa League.

Mourinho will need the fans, the ones who booed Chelsea off at half-time and then couldn’t wait to get out of the place when Murray nodded in Bournemouth’s winner, back onside. The atmosphere was soulless and joyless, a worry ahead of a fixture Chelsea can ill-afford to lose.

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth celebrated their victory like FA Cup minnows, running over to the 3,000 travelling fans. They had beaten the champions in their own backyard, but it was probably lost on them that they are only two points off Chelsea in the table.

‘I’d have taken it (before the start of the season),’ said Howe. ‘The trouble is, you’d be thinking you were second.’

Instead they are 17th, enjoying what Howe described as the ‘biggest win in Bournemouth’s history’. Harry Redknapp, the manager when the Cherries beat Manchester United in the FA Cup third round at Dean Court in 1984, will probably feel differently.

Here they were terrific, with the hustling figures of Matt Ritchie, Harry Arter, Dan Gosling and Junior Stanislas bossing midfield. Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic were dreadful. King, substituted after the mother of all shifts up front, deserves enormous credit. The forward was excellent and only Thibaut Courtois’s classy first-half saves kept him off the scoresheet.

The Chelsea keeper, returning to the team for the first time since the defeat against Palace in August, was still at fault for Murray’s goal when he failed to punch a corner clear.

‘This result can’t be in isolation, it can’t be the moment talked about in years to come because we want several more,’ added Howe.

‘These players always want to achieve more and I hope that continues. You have to believe you can do it and once you’ve done it, you want to achieve it again.

‘It’s crucial that the players have the belief. That’s come in the last few games, but this is the icing on the cake.

‘We are aware that these games will be extremely tough — next up we have Manchester United.’

Howe is right, but at least United will give them a game.

*This was Chelsea’s first loss to a promoted team in 43 games, and the first time any Championship winners had beaten the champions of the PL away from home. – Daily Mail


Original source: Jose is losing his touch

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