Neil Etheridge: 'You have no leaders Chelsea'

Walsall's Neil Etheridge believes a lack of leadership is the reason why Chelsea have struggled at the start of this season.

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The Premier League champions sit 15th in the table as they arrive at the Banks's Stadium tomorrow looking to defend the Capital One Cup trophy that they won in March.

Despite overcoming Arsenal on Saturday, Jose Mourinho's side have made an underwhelming start to the 2015/16 campaign.

And after talking with close pal and former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Etheridge believes the Londoners are missing the experience from the likes of the departed Frank Lampard and John Terry, who has spent most of the season on the bench.

"I think Chelsea are a fantastic team but they are obviously going through a rough patch," the Philippines international said. "No-one really knows what the true story is with John Terry and he's a massive leader in that team.

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"They lost Frank, who is another massive leader. I look at that team and it's a fantastic bunch of players, but I don't know how many leaders they have got.

"Working closely with Mark Schwarzer last year, he named a few of their leaders and they seem to have all left this year.

"So maybe that's what they are missing on the field, they want someone to take control.

"If you have one on the field that's fantastic but at that level you need a couple if not three or four to pull the team through."

Terry and Radamel Falcao are two of the stars set to line-up against the Saddlers in what is sure to be vastly changed and inexperienced Chelsea side.

And with Walsall flying high in second spot in League One, Etheridge admits all the ingredients are in place for a cup shock.

"We are going into the game with an abundance of confidence," he said.

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