The Star Wars of the Premier League

They started off in a ferocious manner, taking on the Star Wars of the Premier League as if it was just another stride down the street. A goal difference of 21-1 after five games told a story everyone thought they had already heard – Chelsea are the winners of the 2010-11 Premiership.

Eight games further into the season, however, the script doesn’t seem to say what we all expected. The unforeseeable twists have followed each other on page after page. With the injury of an ageing ‘Blues’ Luke Skywalker in Frank Lampard, the squad lead by Carlo Ancelotti is starting to face resistance. The young Star Troopers of Arsenal are closing up the gap to the SW6-team after a convincing victory against Everton.

Meanwhile Chelsea keeps turning pages of the script, only to find turbulence as the man behind the man on the bench at Stamford Bridge, Ray Wilkins, has been let go without anyone really knowing why. It all comes as a despised villain to a team that were thought to simply fly through the season towards the title. And that with John Obi Mikel to take charge of the centre midfield all on his own, as Lampard and Michael Essien are out due to injury and suspension.

Unfortunately, as astonishing a player as he is, Obi isn’t the Wan to take on such a task by himself. In this afternoons 3-0 defeat to Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, Mikel took the field in association with Brazilian flop Ramires and Russian flop Yuri Zhirkov, as the engine of the Chelsea offence – a task he normally grasps with utter grace. However, without the offloading of Lampard’s quick mind and Essien’s power, Obi-Wan-CannotBe the only man out of eleven putting on a game face, no matter if the opposition is called Liverpool or Sunderland.

Against the Black Cats, the guests’ attacking was full of pace and movement; it forced Mikel to take the step down to help his defenders while his three-men-midfield partners took a position further up the pitch. It caused the only player with a creative enough foot to be too far away from the precious moments where he was most needed. And it resulted in a three-goal-mountain to climb.

This is where the dismissal of Ray Wilkins makes even less sense. In a move that makes Wilkins the Darth Vader of South West London, Ancelotti, Frank Anresen, Roman Abramovic, or who ever might be behind the decision, has put the team in a position they far from need at such a crucial point of the season.

The worst enemy of a comfortable footballer is the phenomenon of ‘change’. The lack of a voice comparable to the one of a family member has seized to echo between the walls of the dressing room. Minds will wonder on what will come next and what can happen to the players themselves. Focus should be on playing football, not the outcomes of failure of whichever sort.

Under the José Mourinho era, this was hardly an issue. The Portuguese is an expert on putting focus on himself rather than the players. The people in charge of Chelsea today seems to have left that mentality in a black hole, which can be the mistake costing them the title.

Because when you’re leading the table by two points, you better believe your mind needs to be strong enough to be in the right place. Especially when you’re in a league as tight as the Premier League. A leader with a club mentality is always important, and even more so when rest of the Premiership Empire tries to Strike Back.

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