Jamie Carragher: Why these two Chelsea players really surprised me
The Liverpool legend was really surprised to see Thibaut Courtois and Nemanja Matic's dramatic slump
Jamie Carragher has highlighted the demise of Chelsea duo Thibaut Courtois and Nemanja Matic since their 2015 Premier League title triumph.
Courtois and Matic played vital roles in the west London’s fourth Premier League title success under Jose Mourinho.
However, the former Atletico Madrid shot stopper struggled to maintain his consistency throughout the 2015-16 campaign following the sale of Petr Cech to Arsenal.
Matic was heavily criticised for his sluggish performances in the heart of the Chelsea midfield as Mourinho’s side lost nine Premier League games before Christmas Day.
The west Londoners’ poor form resulted in Mourinho’s sacking and Dutch coach Guus Hiddink took over the reins on an interim basis until the end of the season.
Antonio Conte has steadied the ship since his appointment earlier this year and has helped Diego Costa and Eden Hazard rediscover some impressive form.
However, former Liverpool defender Carragher still can’t comprehend the dramatic slump of Chelsea’s key men.
“Thibaut Courtois was a goalkeeper I felt could have an impact like Peter Schmeichel did for United in the 1990s,” Carragher wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“You looked at his size, his agility, and the way he stood between the posts and made the target shrink, and saw no reason why he would not be No 1 for the next decade.”
“Nemanja Matic had been a monster for Mourinho in his first 18 months back at the club. He looked set to become Chelsea’s equivalent of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira. Eden Hazard was by far the best player in England, while Diego Costa was the spearhead whose goals paved the way for success.”
Carragher added: “Look at them now. Courtois has been playing like he wants to leave and done nothing to quell stories about his future. Matic looks like a little boy lost. Where is the powerhouse who went toe-to-toe with Yaya Toure when he returned to England? Hazard has only scored nine goals for Chelsea since they were crowned champions. Of the quartet, only Costa has shown reasonable form but even he has had issues.”
Chelsea will host Mourinho’s Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.