On Saturday Chelsea thoroughly outplayed the opposition, who beat them in a freak 1-0 result, pushing the Blues' point haul to three out of the last possible twelve. That's not a good ratio, but in that span, they've played maybe 150 minutes of bad football, and have looked like... well, Chelsea for the rest of the time. Hardly something to freak out over, although highly annoying.
Randomness is a pretty important part of sports. Bad teams can beat good teams with a little dose of luck - and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who regards Birmingham's win as earned without a shred of good fortune. Sometimes, Chelsea are the beneficiaries (we probably didn't deserve all three points against Blackburn), but the visit to St. Andrews saw the flip side of the coin. I would hope that anyone watching that game would have seen an excellent team dominate, concede on the one chance they allowed their opposition, and experience a streak of horrible luck in front of goal.
Apparently everybody else sees it as a crisis unfolding.
I've actually been hesitant to go near the BBC or the Guardian over the past couple of days, but a couple of quick peeks are illuminating. Apparently, Chelsea are suffering because Ray Wilkins was unfairly removed, that they're going through a calamity and the team suddenly doesn't know how to win. That sounds pretty bad. Let's go mythbusting.
The team doesn't know how to win
To believe this, you have to believe a very strange thing: That Frank Lampard is some sort of mystical leader of men, who can turn winners into losers through his commanding presence and general badassery. You'd also have to believe that in spite of England's World Cup campaign. Alternatively, you could argue that Jose Bosingwa is the very pinnacle of loseryness, which means we need to burn him immediately.
I'm going to say that they still probably do know how to win, though. I think Frank is pretty awesome, but he's hardly the sort to turn a rag-tag group of morons into one of the world's best football teams (that's Jose Mourinho's job - see Inter Milan without him).
This is because of Ray Wilkins
Seriously? I get that he's not happy he left and the coach isn't happy that he left and that the players probably aren't happy that he left. I guess you could think he had a major impact on play if, say, he were the font of the entire tactical system Chelsea play, and that it gets totally changed every single match. You could also say that players are playing worse because they're upset about Wilkins leaving, to which I say find me the players who are thinking about an ex-assistant manager while playing a football match, and fire them. Wait, shoot them. That's a capital offence.
Chelsea are in crisis.
This one is possibly true. We're certainly a worse team without Michael Essien, John Terry, and Frank Lampard than we would be otherwise. And yes, the results have been bad lately. But when a crisis consists of playing badly for a game and a half and then pretty well otherwise, it's a pretty weak crisis.
Sunderland outplayed Chelsea by about the same amount as Chelsea outplayed Birmingham on Saturday. Once, the much better team one, and once it lost. If it had been the other way around and Sunderland had been vanquished 1-0 at home before the Blues obliterated Birmingham 3-0*, we'd have stories about Chelsea coming together after Wilkins was axed and that they're amazing in every single way and that Carlo Ancelotti might be goodness incarnate. Instead, Roman Abramovich is throwing his weight around, tearing the team up, and causing a calamitous drop in form, oh and Ancelotti is going to quit (he's not going to quit).
Guess what, guys? Not everything needs a narrative.
Luck happens. Sometimes it's great. Sometimes it sucks. But how about we, and by 'we' I mean 'the media', stop overreacting to everything that happens ever. I think that would be cool.
*And frankly, that's about as likely as what actually happened.