Graeme Souness on Chelsea
Chelsea fans are sure to have plenty to say about Graeme Souness’s column in today’s Sunday Times.
The former Liverpool midfielder has torn into Chelsea, while singling out Ross Barkley for specific examination.
Chelsea take on Everton in the Premier League on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are second in the league, two points behind Man City and ahead of Liverpool on goal difference.
Moreover, Maurizio Sarri is the first Chelsea manager to survive the first 11 league games of the season without defeat.
Chelsea can’t beat Man City or Liverpool to the title
When it comes to the broad picture of who’ll win the Premier League, Souness is happy to write off Chelsea.
For the record, Souness also steers clear of offering his thoughts on whether Liverpool will be able to pip Man City to the championship.
So why can’t Chelsea win it? Souness points to the attackers at Stamford Bridge:
Chelsea are still a striker short of winning the Premier League. Ultimately, that could cost them as they compete for the title.
You need a 20-plus goalscorer up front and I’m not sure they can sign a striker better than Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud in January.
What Souness fails to mention
Amazingly, Souness completely ignores the fact that Chelsea have the current Premier League top scorer on their books: Eden Hazard.
Along with Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hazard leads the league’s scoring charts with seven goals.
Also ignored by Souness is Morata’s current scoring form.
The Spanish striker has five goals in the league this season.
By comparison, Man City’s Gabriel Jesus only has one league goal. While Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino only has two goals in the Premier League.
Quirky criticisms of Chelsea
Souness also dropped some quirky criticisms of Chelsea in his op-ed.
When it came to Sarri, the talking head wrote:
Sarri has done a great job so far. He has them all enjoying their football, but the test will come when they lose a couple of games.
Chelsea fans may counter that comment with ‘no sh*t Sherlock!’
Souness also dropped another peculiar comment about Chelsea’s gaffer:
Sarri’s is a strange story when you consider his career. He has had 18 jobs in 28 years, mostly at small clubs in Italy, and only in the past two, Empoli then Napoli, did he really settle down, for three years at each.
Chelsea fans may again hit back with ‘so what?!’
Souness singles out Ross Barkley
Sarri has Chelsea lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, and the battle for a spot in the Blues midfield is fierce.
Jorginho and N’Golo Kante seem locked in as two certain starters for Chelsea in the middle of the park.
That leaves one spot open for Ross Barkley, Cesc Fabregas, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic to fight over.
At the moment, Barkley seems to be the preferred option.
Barkley has already scored three Premier League goals as well as chipping in with three assists in the league.
Yet, in a surprising move from Souness, the pundit has chosen this moment to deliver the following analysis of the Chelsea midfielder:
Ross Barkley turns 25 next month, so it’s now or never for him as a top-class footballer.
He’s reaching the point of no return, where he either does or doesn’t.
Did Souness fat shame Barkley?
The final issue worth dredging up from Souness’s article is his comments on Barkley’s weight.
In an eye-catching set of sentences, Souness compared the weight of the Chelsea midfielder to himself:
I’m suspicious when I hear a footballer suddenly proclaim he’s in the best shape of his career.
When I hear a player say “I’m fitter than I’ve ever been” or “I’ve lost a stone”, the question I’d always ask is: “What the hell were you doing before?”
I was always the same weight when I played, 12st 10lb.