1) Jose Mourinho
First and foremost the manager has to take the brunt of the blame. Whilst he couldn’t control the lack of signings (as the club undertake the transfers) the squad he has is good enough to have more than four points from four games, which in reality is dismal form. The side should have beaten Swansea and Palace at home. An away defeat to City can be excused but the worry is that Mourinho isn’t getting a response from his players. Instead they’re lying down limply. The result against Palace shows that Mourinho is now under pressure, despite signing a contract extension and thus needs to make something change quickly or else he could be fired. For a manager with such a wealth of experience and success, he knows he must do better.
2) Nemanja Matic
When signed by Mourinho back in January 2014 he was corner stone of the Chelsea side. A bargain at £21.5 million. Matic was a colossal midfielder. He swept up the play, dominated the midfield, surged forward out of the back and had a good range of passing. Matic provided the shield that allowed the attacking players to get forward and was one of Chelsea’s best players last year. This season though he’s been woeful. He has left huge gaps and been off the pace. Against West Brom for instance he gave away a penalty, as well as committing a few other mistimed challenges. Matic’s form has been so bad that he was replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, a player derided by Mourinho at the end of last season.
3) John Terry (plus all the defenders)
John Terry didn’t appear in he 2-1 defeat to Palace. His absence almost a blessing in disguise for himself, who no doubt would have been in the firing line had they been defeated. The whole defence has been dismal though. Individual and collective errors have marred the campaign. A lack of pace and a lack of organization, with the latter arguably another reason to assign blame to Jose Mourinho. Collectively the defenders are not set out well, he can easily remedy this.
4) Roman Abramovich (or his chief advisers)
One major problem has been a lack of activity in the transfer window. The side that started the season was unchanged. It was the same first 11 that finished last season. Any top team must evolve and Jose Mourinho was frustrated about this, especially as Chelsea began to grind out wins at the end of last season, following quite a poor finish to the campaign. Chelsea didn’t act quick enough or decisively enough, whilst their rivals were strengthening significantly. Now they’ll be scrambling late on for Paul Pogba and John Stones when they could realistically end up with neither target.