Are Chelsea out of EPL Title Race already?

Naismith 3, Chelsea 1 — that’s about all you need to know to understand the dire straights of Chelsea football club these days.

Following the international break, it appears that it will be more of the same for Jose Mourinho’s side, as Steven Naismith scored a perfect hat-trick (right foot, head, left foot) for Everton and the miserable start to the 2015-16 season for the West London side continued.

Just how bad is it for Chelsea? It is actually one of the worst starts in league history for the club.

Just four points from five games puts Chelsea in a really bad place in the league table. In fact, its likely that the club will end this weekend down by double digit points.

Premier League title contenders Manchester City sit on 12 points entering its contest with Crystal Palace on Saturday, and a win would put Chelsea 11 points down in just five matches.

So what gives? After all, this is the same side from last season for the most part, and that side dominated its way to an EPL title.

In that league title winning season, Chelsea lost just three matches. This year, the Blues have already racked up three losses.

Perhaps its part of a pattern with manager Jose Mourinho, who has never won a league title in his third year managing a club. Then again, he’s rarely lasted three years at any club he’s managed, placing second in La Liga with Real Madrid in 2012-13 and earning runner-up status in 2006-07 during his first stint at Chelsea.

It’s also a strange start given Mourinho’s history of not letting losses pile up. Consider this — this is the first time that Jose Mourinho has lost two successive Premier League games since May 2006

More than anything, Chelsea’s defense has seemingly aged another decade in just a few months time. John Terry continues to be a first team option despite his slowing pace and decision making, while both Branislav Ivanović and César Azpilicueta continued their terrible form to start the season.

Those were three of the biggest key players to Chelsea lifting the championship trophy at the end of last season, and today they were three of the biggest reasons for the struggles this side is having. All three played key roles in Naismith’s hat-trick on Saturday as well.

Some failed marking on the headed goal was on the center-back pairing of Terry and Kurt Zouma

Ironically, a failed effort to snag John Stones away from Chelsea appears to have been a massive miss for the club. Not only was Stones an impressive player on Saturday, but he also provided Everton with the pace and possession that Chelsea are lacking out of a center-back.

Chelsea have also failed in attack this season, with first-choice striker Diego Costa failing to be a dangerous option like last season. He’s got just one goal in five matches, after pacing this side with seven goals in the same amount of matches last season.

The problem for Costa is that he needs service to be an effective striker and he isn’t getting that. On Saturday, both Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard were non-existent and that meant little link up play with Costa.

It appears this side has some big time soul searching to do, because it surely doesn’t lack for big names and big time results in its past. The problem is, Chelsea may have dug itself a hole it can’t climb out of.

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!