Any way you look at it, Chelsea’s Premier League title defense is off to a disastrous start. In fact, you could say it’s already ended before it’s really got going. A title repeat has to be the furthest thing from manager Jose Mourinho’s mind at this point. The Blues currently sit on eight points, good enough for a tie for 14th place. Mourinho’s men have already racked up three losses, and most recently barely managed a draw against lowly Newcastle, a side still looking for its first win. When things are going this bad for a pre-season title favorite, people want answers.
Of course, such an unexpectedly horrific start to the campaign has the pundits out in full force with diagnoses and solutions to the team’s problems. ESPN’s Nick Miller has five possible solutions to fix Chelsea’s woes:
1. Change to a 4-3-3 formation
2. Give playing time to some of the youngsters
3. Play Baba Rahman at left back, move Azpilicueta to right back, and drop Ivanovic to the bench
4. Figure out how to get Eden Hazard in good form
5. Keep pressing on and hope the results will change
Preposterous ideas, all of them! While “experts” like Nick Miller are coming up with their fancy pants explanations for Chelsea’s demise, the real cause is hiding in plain sight. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, The Curse of Samsung.
That’s right, it doesn’t take a genius to see that Chelsea’s problems aren’t with the players wearing the jerseys, they’re with the jerseys themselves. Samsung became Chelsea’s shirt sponsor before the 2005-2006 season and remained the sponsor until this off-season, when Chelsea switched to Yokohama Tires. The deal with the Japanese tire company is reportedly worth an incredible £40 million per year, more than double the Samsung deal’s £18 million price.
If only Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich hadn’t been so blinded by the
dollar pound signs, he might have stopped to reflect on all the club had accomplished with Samsung on the uniform. In the club’s 101 competitive seasons of play, it has won the first division title five times. Three of them were with Samsung on the shirt. The Blues have snagged the FA Cup seven times, four of them with Samsung. Chelsea’s lone Champions League triumph came in 2012 when Didier Drogba single-handedly stunned Bayern Munich with Samsung emblazoned across his chest.
It’s fair to say that Chelsea Football Club’s greatest seasons have come with the name of South Korean tech giant Samsung written on those trademark blue shirts. What else could possibly explain Chelsea’s rise to global soccer prominence in the mid 2000’s? Insanely wealthy Russian oil oligarch Roman Abramovich buying the club couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it. He’s still the owner now, and look what’s happening. I don’t know, maybe someone should ask Nick Miller about it.