As a fan of any club, you hate seeing your side fail to win in any of their first four games of a calendar year, especially when you support current English Premier League champions Chelsea.
For starters, one of those matches was against mid-table Sky Bet Championship side Norwich City, who held The Blues to a goalless draw at Carrow Road in the Third Round of the FA Cup, forcing them to a replay.
Admittedly, the trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal in the league at the start of the month showed a great account of Antonio Conte’s side and they were unfortunate to concede Hector Bellerin’s superb curling effort in second half stoppage time.
After the two draws away from home, it was important for The Blues to make the most of three consecutive matches on home soil.
The first of which came against The Gunners; this occasion was the first of two legs in the Carabao Cup semi-finals. The Blues dominated but failed to break down a vigilant Arsenal defence resulting in a 0-0 draw, meaning that Chelsea must win at the Emirates later this month to progress to next month’s final against either Manchester City or Bristol City.
There were encouraging signs from the two draws against Arsenal giving supporters hope that The Blues will return to their former selves against Leicester City; how wrong those expectations proved to be. Hapless, unimaginative and abysmal are just three of the many adjectives that could be used to describe Chelsea’s performance, particularly in the first half.
Andreas Christensen did not start the match and that plan severely backfired during the first 25 minutes, with Gary Cahill and Antonio Rudiger in particular, struggling as The Foxes came close to scoring on several occasions. An injury to captain Cahill proved to be a slight blessing in disguise; Christensen replaced him, and it proved to sort the defensive issues out but the problem of being unable to string together any kind of attacking threat remained throughout. Conte attempted to change the formation to a 3-4-3 shortly after the break, but it made no difference.
Chelsea managed to set a new club record that day, their first ever hat-trick of consecutive goalless draws. The Blues are both hoping and are in desperate need of a win when they face Norwich City in the replay of their Third Round stalemate at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
Although they haven’t won in their last four, they haven’t lost in their last nine. Conte is likely to make several changes to his side for the cup replay. Ross Barkley is not eligible for the match, having not signed in time for the tie. Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill are also unavailable for the match due to injury.
Many players like Michy Batshuayi and Pedro will be wanting to prove a point and I hope and pray that they will progress to the next round of the FA Cup.
Score Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Norwich City
By Jonty Colman