The last time a Jose Mourinho side conceded two or more goals in four league games on the spin, the world was obsessed with the snowman off the John Lewis ad, James Arthur had just scooped X Factor glory and immediately become instantly forgettable, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire had smashed all kinds of US Box Office records.
Five months later and Jose was shown the door.
Now in 2015, with the X Factor kicking off once again, Christmas creeping ever closer, and the final part of the Hunger Games film series due for release, it could all be happening again.
Valladolid, Espanyol, Malaga and Sociedad were the teams who put a total of 10 goals past Mourinho’s Real Madrid between December 2012 and January 2013, whereas this time around it has been Swansea, Manchester City, West Brom and Crystal Palace who have hit Jose’s Chelsea for nine.
While last season Chelsea had the meanest defence in the league conceding just 32 goals, this year only Sunderland and their inability to complete the most basic clearance, have a worse record at the back than the Pensioners.
Little more than six months ago John Terry’s name was mentioned in by Chelsea fans in the same breath as The Pope, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. This season he’s been subbed off at half-time in the 3-0 defeat away to City, was sent off away to West Brom, and has conceded a goal every 47 minutes he’s been on the pitch.
Gary Cahill looks as solid as a rich tea biscuit floating in a piping hot brew, while the only conceivable explanation for Branislav Ivanovic’s downturn in form is that he’s been kidnapped somewhere in Eastern Europe and replaced by a competition winner who has stolen his face.
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Chelsea’s next challenge is a trip to Goodison Park at 12.45pm on Saturday to face Roberto Martinez’s Everton side, and while Chelsea’s defensive woes might be giving Mourinho sleepless nights, it’s also pointing us towards a tempting 11/2 punt of Everton to win and there to be over 2.5 goals.
The Toffees may not have been overly high scoring in their opening four league games, but there’s enough evidence there to suggest they can cause Chelsea a fair few headaches. Although they’ve drawn blanks at home to Manchester City and away to Tottenham in their most recent two games, and attempted just 38 shots in total (only Sunderland and Newcastle have had less attempts on goal by the way) the Toffees have been ruthless, converting 13.2 per cent of their shots.
Romelu Lukaku (15/2 to score first) has shown glimpses of his raw talent with a 23 minute double away to Southampton, taking his tally to 44 Premier League goals at the age of just 22. While most lads that age are still knocking back shots of sambuca and losing the run of themselves in a nightclub that plays non-stop 90s, Romelu Lukaku has racked up 116 appearances in the top flight, averaging a goal every 181 minutes.
Ross Barkley (10/1) has hammered home a few thunderb***tards already this campaign, Arouna Kone (9/1) opened his account from the bench against Watford, while Steven Naismith (10/1) has three goals in his last five games against Chelsea. There’s enough firepower there to give Thibaut Courtois and co something to think about.
The Toffees have won four of their last six league home games against Chelsea, the 6-3 hammering Everton took 12 months ago a rare anomaly in their head-to-head record. That stat, combined with an air of uncertainty that is following Jose Mourinho around like a bad smell, and the fact that Chelsea’s defence has looked ropier than a sailor’s knot collection, gives us the feeling that Everton to win with more than 2.5 goals in the game is too tempting to turn down at 11/2.