5 Things We Learned From Chelsea FC's Season
Chelsea finished the Barclays Premier League in style beating Sunderland 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. Along the way, they dazzled, bored and achieved great heights not seen by previous Premier League teams.
Although the level of play this past season took a downturn throughout the Premier League, Chelsea finished the season on top of the table for a record 274 days (besting Manchester United’s 1993-94 record of 262 days). Furthermore, Chelsea have lost just four matches in all competitions this season – to Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League and Bradford City in the FA Cup – which is the best all-competition record during the 23 years of the Premier League era (besting Manchester United’s Treble-winning campaign of 1998-99).
Along with lifting the Premier League trophy, Mourinho’s men won the Capital One Cup but failed to progress pass the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.
Throughout the season, here are five things we learned:
1. Eden Hazard has launched himself into the category of football superstar along the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Ibrahimovic. His pace, ball control and slalom runs led him to be crowned PFA Player of The Year, a year after winning PFA’s Young Player of The Year award. The Blues look to have a special talent on their books until 2020, as Hazard signed a contract extension earlier this year.
2. The dynamic duo of Fabregas and Matic in the center of the park proved to be vital to the team’s success throughout the season. Cesc’s 18 assists led the league; Arsenal’s Santi Carzola was second with 11, while Matic was a stabling force providing constant cover to Chelsea’s often impenetrable backline. Where Cesc provided flair and beautiful long range passes, Matic’s work rate was second to none which allowed Chelsea’s attacking players to constantly be doing just that, attacking.
3. Chelsea’s captain John Terry is just like a fine wine as he gets better with age. The ‘Captain Leader Legend’ was the best center back in the league this season and is in the discussion as one of the best the league has ever seen as his positioning is second to none. Along with winning another title, he became the top-scoring defenseman in Premier League history with 39 goals. Among many other accomplishments, he also played every minute of every game for Chelsea this season.
4. Mourinho’s rivals can’t touch him. He is the postman that always delivers. He is the ‘Special One’ (here is the video to his infamous 'Special One' speech from when he was first appointed manager at Stamford Bridge - almost 10 years ago). Earlier this season Arsenal’s boss Arsene Wenger (who shoved Mourinho on the touchline) got the closest to any other Premier League manager at touching but like everyone else, he was unable to land a knockout blow. The Special One returned The Blues to glory winning his third Premier League title as Chelsea manager.
5. Brazilian duo of Costa and Willian added much needed flair and tenacity to the Chelsea attack. While he was healthy, Costa was the best striker in the Premier League. He is fast, physical, ruthless (often getting under opposing defender’s skin), passionate and most of all fits Chelsea perfectly. Although he has received much criticism (mostly due to his inconsistency which is still in question) since moving to the club, Willian has proved to be a key signing. His pace on the counter is scary and he is never shy to drive at opponents on the right wing. Second to Matic, Willian’s determination and work rate was a delight to watch. His effort to sprint back and help Ivanovic allowed the likes of Hazard, Oscar, Fabregas and even Ivanovic to roam freely in the attacking third.
Chelsea has been linked to a number of top players in the transfer window (most recently Man United flop Falcao wants Chelsea move), but their roster maintains healthy, they should be in great shape to win the Premier League again and go far in the UEFA Champions