With Roberto Di Matteo being sacked there are now two issues at Chelsea and both concern the lack of leadership at the club. Obviously the managerial one is fairly easy to replace and in an another post I shall discuss my views of the sacking of Di Matteo (and the new appointment) but for now I am going to concern myself with the more pressing lack of leadership and that is the on the pitch leader.
Since Abramovich took over there have been proven leaders on the pitch, the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba remained a core of the side until the end of last season. However this season without the Ivorian has seen Chelsea suffer. Since John Terry got his ban and his subsequent injury against, barring that ridiculous league cup tie against Manchester United, Chelsea have managed to win only two matches and have failed to win six matches (including the one he played in Shakhtar and the one he started against Liverpool). In addition Frank Lampard also had virtually no role to play in these matches, leaving Petr Cech to captain the side on multiple occasions.
Now I am a big fan of Petr Cech but I do not think he possess the leadership quality of a Terry, Lampard or Drogba. Moving to a goalkeeper captain after our three previous captains had more infield positions will always be difficult for the players to adjust to. A perfect example of this would be yesterday’s 3-0 thumping at the hand of Juventus yesterday, at 2-0 down the heads just dipped and no one looked like trying to change the match. No one offered any inspiration or motivation and the players were just looking around for someone to do something or say something. That never happened and we hardly even looked like threatening to find another goal and ended up conceding another.
Another problem this leadership hole poses is David Luiz. Luiz feels without Terry alongside him he needs to be the leader and then engages in kamikaze runs up and down the pitch often leaving him out of position and leaving us vulnerable at the back. I do think he needs to be told not to do that but if he could channel that into something more vocal as opposed to ‘physical’ then I think Luiz is the perfect candidate to be the next Chelsea captain.
The toughest job will be finding a player who can earn that respect, play consistently and be vocal on the pitch. There are candidates at Chelsea with my pick being either Gary Cahill or David Luiz but this is something that needs to be done on a long term basis and we cannot have a situation similar to Arsenal whereby our captain wants to leave the club at the end of the season.
Finding the next manager for Chelsea might be a fairly straight-forward job however appointing the next captain is far more difficult and that is what the hierarchy at Chelsea must be considering as it is vital to the club’s future. It is the only role at the club that has offered any semblance of continuity.