Manchester City won the Premier League last year and there is no doubt that they were worthy champions. Liverpool came close, leading the pack with 3 games to play. Arsenal too, will feel aggrieved at missing out, having been top of the table for a total of 128 days through the course of the season. But the team that actually threw the title away was Chelsea.
The manner in which the Blues missed out on winning their 4th Premier League title was startling. Liverpool dropped points against top clubs, losing their vital clash against Chelsea in the third-from-last game of the season. Arsenal were dire against their fellow top 4 sides, conceding a total of 17 goals at the Etihad, Anfield and Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea, on the other hand, lost out on the title due to their very ordinary form against sides from the bottom half of the table. Their record against their fellow title contenders was near-perfect, and their 6 losses came against Newcastle United, Everton, Stoke City, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa. This kind of form is most unexpected from a Jose Mourinho-side and many wondered if the Portuguese had lost his golden touch.
The Blues’ start to this season though, has shown that they have put things back on track and addressed the issues from last year. They look well set to go all the way.
Here are 5 reasons why Chelsea will win the Premier League this season:
1) A near-perfect transfer window:
Most people would agree that among all the Premier League clubs, Chelsea probably had the best transfer window. They did their business early, and addressed every area that wasn’t good enough last season. A central midfielder and a centre-forward were needed, and in came Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa. These deals were completed even before the World Cup started. Atletico Madrid left-back Filipe Luis also came in for the outgoing Ashley Cole. Despite spending over £85 million, Chelsea’s net spending was negligible, as David Luiz and Romelu Lukaku were sold for £50 million and £28 million respectively.
2) Stunning starts by the newcomers:
A big advantage of bringing in players so early on in the transfer window was that they had time to gel in with the rest of the squad. Fabregas and Costa participated extensively in pre-season and found their feet within the Chelsea side. Consequently, their start to competitive football with the Blues has been nothing short of stunning. Three games into the season, Costa is the Premier League’s top-scorer with 4 goals, while Fabregas is the league’s top assist-maker, setting up 4 goals for his teammates. Their quality has helped unlock stubborn defences that Chelsea were unable able to penetrate last season, and we have seen some awesome football in the process.
3) A complete re-haul of the strikeforce:
Chelsea’a major problem last season was in the striking department. The forwards did get on the scoresheet, but not with the regularity that was required. A title-chasing club like Chelsea needs its main striker to score 25-30 goals a season, but Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba only managed 31 together in all competitions. Now, all three of them are gone, and have been replaced by Diego Costa, Didier Drogba and Loic Remy. All of them are proven goalscorers, and Drogba’s return has also provided a huge psychological boost to the club. Costa has already proved his credentials in a Chelsea shirt, and Remy is also expected to do equally well, following his move from Queens Park Rangers just two days before the transfer window shut.
4) Eden Hazard:
There were glimpses last season, when Eden Hazard showed that he could be the world’s best. The Belgian was arguably the second-best player in the league after Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, and there have already been signs that he can move up a gear this year. If Hazard can better his performances from the last campaign, which saw him be Chelsea’s top-scorer with 17 goals, Chelsea will win the Premier League.
5) Jose Mourinho:
Having the best squad in England is great, but having the best manager in the world at the helm is the complete package. In Jose Mourinho, Chelsea have a born-winner, and after two seasons without silverware, the Portuguese will leave no stone unturned to make sure that the haul doesn’t stretch to three. Tactically astute and often-entertainingly wily, it won’t be too long before Mourinho starts his mind-games with other managers.