Columnists, Soccer, Sports

The Mezzala: What is going on in South London?

Chelsea Football Club is one of the most successful clubs in the history of football. The club boasts a star-studded lineup full of potential superstars and already accomplished legends. On the other side, a struggling Southampton team is currently sitting last in the Premier League. Their sole hope is team captain James Ward-Prowse who carried them to a measly 15 points prior to their faceoff with Chelsea. 

Connie Dai | DFP Staff

Chelsea spent the big bucks in the last transfer window following a disappointing start to the season and were expected to show off their new-look squad in an easy win at home against Southampton. The Blues were expecting a refreshing turnaround after suffering a loss earlier in the week in the Champions League to Dortmund.

What if I told you that Chelsea would lose this game? 

Well, they did, and it came after winning just one of their 10 matches in the new year. 

Chelsea’s downfall is the epitome of money not buying success. The club’s new owners have flooded the transfer market with hundreds of millions of euros in an attempt to buy success, as so many have before them. However, any football fan with even a little bit of knowledge would question the reasoning behind these signings. How do these players fit in the system that Chelsea manager Graham Potter utilizes, and what exactly is the issue? 

The issue is not the quality of the side, but rather it is the quality of management by both the owners and the manager. I do not know how Potter still has his job. What does the Chelsea board see in the coach after he has led them to absolute despair and humiliation? Chelsea, who not long ago won the Champions League, is sitting in tenth in the Premier League. The first red flag of this new ownership was the sacking of Thomas Tuchel after his single defeat to a lower tier side in the Champions League. Where is the same energy with Potter?

This new style of football that Chelsea plays under Potter can only be described as frustrating. Chelsea is performing fine on the defensive end. The problem, however, comes from the attack and how Potter utilizes his players. Potter calls for central players like Kai Havertz and Mason Mount to overload the wide areas, allowing for other attacking players like João Félix to penetrate behind the defensive line in the center. The problem is that Havertz and Mount are some of Chelsea’s best attacking threats, and having them go wide eliminates their scoring threat. 

There may still be hope for Chelsea fans as Potter has largely been operating with an injury-plagued squad far from full power. When players like Reece James and Ben Chillwell return, the stress of the wide overload can be passed on to the experienced wingbacks who can create the pressure on the flanks, allowing more Chelsea attackers to have attempts on goal. The return of N’golo Kante will also strengthen the defensive midfield and allow the wingbacks to push forward with more confidence.

Bundesliga Title Race

For many years, the Bundesliga has been deemed a “farmers’ league” for being dominated by Bayern Munich — sucking out all excitement of a title race. This season, however, has been a different story. Three teams are tied in points at 43 at the top of the Bundesliga: Bayern Munich, 

Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin. 

Bayern Munich, the usually dominant superpower in Germany, has been dropping points due to poor results against teams that they should be beating. Just days after beating Paris Saint-Germain, they lost 3-2 to Borussia Monchengladbach. Borussia Dortmund has been the only challenge to Bayern’s dominance in recent times but have always fallen short of overcoming their typical second-place finish. They have lost six games so far, which is the most out of any team in the top six. However, they have 14 wins, which is the most out of any team in the whole league. 

Lastly, we have Union Berlin, a side that reached the top flight of German football for the first time in 2019. They have been overachieving ever since and qualified for the Europa League in 2022. Their impressive run of form has not slowed down as they’ve been battling Bayern for first place this season. 

If Bayern wasn’t such a confusing team, this wouldn’t happen. Thankfully, their bipolar performances have given birth to a new and exciting Bundesliga competition.


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