Chelsea are in a mess but shouldn't be written off, says Jeff Stelling
Chelsea were shambolic against Basel, says Jeff Stelling, but remember they defied the odds in 2012.
Last Updated: 19/09/13 2:11pm
Now they may well do - it is very early days, after all - but they don't look like a side that is going to win the Premier League or the Champions League at the moment.
Remember the old Led Zeppelin song 'Dazed and Confused'? A few Chelsea fans might be feeling like that at the moment.
As we discussed in the Champions League studio last night, Mourinho doesn't seem to know yet what his best starting XI or formation.
Kevin De Bruyne played the first few games of the season but hasn't been sighted since then; Andre Schurrle started at Everton at the weekend but wasn't even on the bench at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday; Marco van Ginkel was deemed good enough to start against Basel even though he has yet to start in the league; Juan Mata has spent most of the season sitting on the bench.
When I suggested on Twitter very early in the season that Mata - player of the season last year, don't forget - was on his way out of the club because Mourinho didn't fancy him, so many fans contacted me to say that he wasn't playing because he was injured or wasn't fit.
But that wasn't the reason; the reason why he wasn't playing was because Mourinho, certainly initially, doesn't fancy him very much. But the way things are going there's every chance that could change!
But come on - how many midfield players do you need? They've got Hazard, van Ginkel, De Bruyne, Schurrle, Obi Mikel, Mata, Oscar, Lampard, Ramires - and that's without mentioning one of my bug bears - Nathaniel Chalobah - who was given a five-year contract but has less chance of playing than me the way things are going at the moment.
Hazard didn't track back on one occasion last night despite losing the ball repeatedly and throwing himself on the ground on a number of occasions; it was all very dispiriting.
Then there's the issue of what's going on up front? I felt sorry for Samuel Eto'o, who was criticised for his performance against Basel but wasn't even feeding off scraps; there was absolutely no opportunity for him to show what he's got (if he's still got anything).
Didier Drogba was a one-off but Chelsea did have two powerful forwards in Romelu Lukaku and Victor Moses but what have they done? They've lent them to sides that might turn out to be their rivals!
Meanwhile Mourinho's been playing his mind games, suggesting he has plenty of faith in his 'young eggs' but the average age of the side that played Basel was 27! There weren't many young eggs on that pitch!
He can't pull the wool over our eyes - there was not a single teenager in that team. Van Ginkel is 20 and Hazard is 22, but at the other end of the spectrum you have Eto'o, Lampard, Cole, Ivanovic - players with bags of experience.
The whole thing is a mess, it feels so disjointed - and Roman Abramovich has to share some of the blame for it because of his insistence that the side plays in a certain type of way.
Jamie Redknapp made the point that it's not all about style - you associate different clubs with different styles; not everyone can be a Barcelona. Maybe Chelsea should stick to what they do best.
You'd have to say that the overall quality of the squad isn't as good as that of the squad when Mourinho was first at the club, but compared to most of the sides in Britain and Europe they have some glittering talents there and should be performing far better!
As it happens I still think that they'll go to Bucharest in their next game and win and that they will get out of their Champions League group. I've seen Schalke play this season as well and, believe me, they are no great shakes.
Let's not forget that Chelsea won the Champions League without playing particularly well in 2012, so by May 24 we might all be eating our words!
Basel are a very decent side that always scores goals - they've scored in every game in all competitions this season. Back in 2011 they effectively put Manchester United out of the Champions League and even last year in the Europa League they gave a very good account of themselves in the semi-final against Chelsea.
They looked dangerous then and as they grew in belief last night they appeared ever more so. So it was a disappointing and shambolic night for Chelsea in so many respects, but there is still time to undo the damage.
Jeff's Gem of the Week
I was tempted to go for Millwall beating Blackpool in midweek but instead I've chosen Derby's 5-1 away win at Millwall, which means they've won their opening three away games for the first time in 101 years! Nigel Clough admitted at the start of the season that this was a big season for him because the owners and fans have been extremely patient with him. He's done well to reduce a massive wage bill and rebuild the team, as well as find some little gems along the way - Will Hughes in particular but there are others as well, players like Johnny Russell. Unlike a lot of players he has appeared to have made the transition from Scottish football into the Football League. It will be interesting to see if Derby can maintain their form because they should be play-off contenders at least this season.