Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is preparing to overhaul his defence after his side’s dismal 3-0 defeat by Arsenal on Saturday.
Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, both drastically struggling to find their best form, are thought to be the main contenders to be axed by Conte following their performance against Arsene Wenger’s side.
Since the transfer deadline day arrival of David Luiz, Chelsea have conceded 11 goals in four games and lack any signs of organisation with their influential captain John Terry sidelined through injury.
With the 35-year-old veteran entering the twilight years of his career, Conte is eyeing new arrivals already after missing out on top targets Leonardo Bonucci of Juventus and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly over the summer.
England defender Cahill, who was at fault for Arsenal’s first goal on Saturday, held his head in his hands for the second time in successive weeks after an error against Swansea.
He and Ivanovic, who admitted the Chelsea players didn’t believe in Antonio Conte’s game plan after the Arsenal debacle, are fearing the worst according to Sportsmail.
Forgotten man Kurt Zouma may be ready to offer Conte some relief from his current crop of defenders with a timely return to fitness after last season’s devastating ligament injury.
Zouma’s return can’t come soon enough for the Italian who blasted Chelsea as a ‘great team on paper’ during his furious press conference after the Arsenal defeat.
‘We are a great team only on paper, not on the pitch,’ said Conte. ‘I prefer to be a great team not only on paper but also on the pitch. The pitch is the truth. The pitch speaks.
‘The pitch is the most important thing for us: not the words, not on paper. We must work to change this. We must work a lot.
‘Last season was a bad season. We must have last season present in our mind to not repeat the mistakes. We must reflect a lot to find very soon the right way.’