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CHELSEA: MISTAKES, INJURIES DERAIL TITLE BID

European champions Chelsea had a day to forget especially on the defensive front as they blew the chance to extend their lead at the Premier League summit against West Ham United on Saturday afternoon. The recently displaced Premier League leaders missed out on the opportunity to move four points and five points clear of title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool respectively after they were beaten 3-2 by their hosts thanks to their poor showing defensively.

Without a shadow of doubt, Chelsea have shown that they are genuine title contenders this season in the first four months. However, injuries and mistakes are threatening to derail their bid for a first league title in five years.

Chelsea bounced back from their first league defeat of the season at home to Manchester City with four straight wins that took them to the top of the table, but dropped points from three of their last five games have given advantage to Liverpool and Manchester City in the title race.

The run of just two wins in the last five matches started with the 1-1 home draw with Burnley who are in the bottom three. Chelsea missed out on the chance to beat Burnley for a fifth successive league victory and a five-point lead at the summit. The European champions created enough chances to win the game, but they were denied by poor finishing from their attackers. In the last five games, the West Londoners also dropped points against a struggling Manchester United side via a 1-1 home draw thanks mainly due to mistake from Italian international Jorginho. His mistake gifted Jadon Sancho a goal at the start of the second half beforehe redeemed himself with the equaliser from the penalty spot.

Chelsea were on an eight-match unbeaten run in the league when they visited the London Stadium to take on West Ham. In the end, individual mistakes from the likes of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and the aforementioned Jorginho gave the Hammers a comeback win. It must be pointed out that injuries to important players such as Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku have not helped Chelsea in the current run of eight points from the possible 15 points.

With the defeat at West Ham, Chelsea lost the Premier League summit to Manchester City. They have dropped to third on the log as they now trail Liverpool by one point and new leaders Manchester City by two points.

Friday, December 31st, 2021 Sports