Here We Go! A Sum Up of Chelsea this Season.
The return of Jose Mourinho was meant to signal a new dawn for Chelsea, with ‘The Special One’ hopefully bringing the glory days back to...
The return of Jose Mourinho was meant to signal a new dawn for Chelsea, with ‘The Special One’ hopefully bringing the glory days back to Stamford Bridge. Times have changed since Mourinho was last at the club, with many of his star players moving on to pastures new and a new generation in their place having the quality to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title. Considerable success at Inter Milan and Real Madrid put Mourinho in great stead to return to the Premier League and add to his two titles, although his main dream remains winning the Champions League with Chelsea. While the Blues’ European dreams were dashed at the semi-final stage against Atletico Madrid, Chelsea could only finish third in the Premier League following a season in which they never really managed to assert themselves at the summit, despite remaining in contention until the latter stages. A busy summer lies ahead at Stamford Bridge as Mourinho will look to improve his squad, and will remain a strong favourite in the Premiership market to win the league next season.
Consecutive victories over newly promoted Hull and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge started the season on the right foot as Mourinho came back to the Premier League with a bang. A goalless draw at Manchester United and defeat at Everton followed which would signal the beginning of Chelsea’s Achilles heel that would come back to bite them throughout the rest of the campaign. An element of inconsistency remained prominent throughout the first half of the season, with Chelsea looking like they were hitting top form, only to stumble in games away from Stamford Bridge; three consecutive victories in October was ruined by defeat at Newcastle, while another three game winning run was ended by a shock defeat at Stoke. Although Chelsea found themselves several points behind Arsenal at the top of the table at the half-way point of the season, Mourinho’s side remained firmly in contention without really hitting top form. The Blues were more efficient than eye-catching – a quality that every title-winning side requires to grind out results when they are perhaps not at their best.
The Boxing Day victory against Swansea signalled the beginning of a wonderful run of results that put Chelsea right in contention in one of the best title races in Premier League history. Mourinho’s men picked up 32 points from a possible 36 as Chelsea went 12 games unbeaten, which included wonderful victories against Liverpool, Southampton and both Manchester clubs, to show they really meant business. They found themselves right in the mix alongside Liverpool and Manchester City for the title, but their Achilles heel came back to haunt the Blues. The wonderful unbeaten run came to an end through defeat at Aston Villa, and although Chelsea responded wonderfully with a 6-0 demolition of Arsenal at the Bridge, another away defeat at Crystal Palace ultimately ended their title hopes. It illustrated an element of complacency and inability to break down teams lower down the table away from home, but Mourinho learnt the harsh lesson that there is no such thing as an easy game in the Premier League anymore. Mourinho also lost his unbeaten home record as Chelsea crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat to Sunderland who were fighting for their lives at the bottom.
Finishing third was just about right for Chelsea and Mourinho, but with the extremely high expectations at the club created by many years of success and the ownership of Roman Abramovich, a lot of work may be done during the summer to improve the squad. The future of young stars Thibault Courtois and Romelu Lukaku remains uncertain, despite enjoying wonderful seasons out on loan at Atletico Madrid and Everton respectively. Selling Lukaku could be a huge mistake, particularly as Chelsea’s strikers struggled to score the number of goals required for club challenging for the Premier League title. Eden Hazard (14) scored more goals than Fernando Torres and Demba Ba combined with both strikers scoring 5 apiece, while Samuel Eto’o scored one more than Andre Schurrle with 9. Although Mourinho has already state that Torres remains an important player, Ba and Eto’o may be heading for the exit door, particularly the latter who appears to have fell out with Mourinho over comments made about his age.
Although Financial Fair Play rules may restrict an influx of big-money signings arriving at the club, there is every indication that Chelsea will be active during the summer transfer window. Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea, and rumours continue to persist over interest in Radamel Falcao who is still recovering from a serious knee injury. Chelsea may also invest in a left-back following the likely departure of Ashley Cole who has been a wonderful servant for the club. Another centre-back may also be a priority as John Terry is not getting any younger, and David Luiz continues to be linked with a big-money move to Barcelona and Bayern Munich, with Mourinho appearing not entirely convinced by the Brazilian’s qualities at the club.