Chelsea win Barclays Premier League title
A fitting result to a duteous season. With three games left in the season – home vs. Liverpool, away at West Bromwich Albion and home v. Sunderland – Chelsea FC secured the Barclays Premier League trophy with a ‘boring’ 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge against Crystal Palace this past Sunday. This is the team’s first Premier League title in five years.
After playing 35 games, Chelsea stand alone and can’t be caught atop the table on 83 points as Mourinho claims his second trophy of the season and the 21st of his illustrious career; The Blues previously won the Capital One Cup beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final, the team’s fifth League Cup win.
Chelsea bossed most of the game, with 62 percent possession, 17 shots with seven being on target, but had to settle for a Hazard header after a missed penalty – his first miss from the spot this season – to secure victory. Chelsea’s defense, which boasts three players in the PFA team of the season – Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic – staunchly defended and claimed the title on the right note, with a clean sheet. Although the team inspired in the first few months of the season with expansive football, this season Chelsea depended more on clean sheets from one of the strongest defense in recent Premier League history.
Mourinho’s more strategic but less artistic approach for winning games has come under a lot of scrutiny, from pundits to fellow managers – most notably Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger who suggested that Chelsea’s defensive style is easier to master than that of Arsenal's more expansive passing game. Throughout the season, Mourinho has held true to the words he spoke in response to Wenger that he doesn’t care where and how they win, all he wants to do is be the champions. For Mourinho it is not about what others feel, think or say, it is about the result and how he can achieve it.
Since his return to Chelsea, Mourinho has embraced the role without much controversy (besides his team’s ‘boring style of play). He sold top talent including: Juan Mata David Luiz, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Andre Schurrle in favor of bringing in the likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Loic Remy, Juan Cuadrado and Chelsea hero Didier Drogba. Although the team roster had changed, his most notable change was the team’s scheme to a 4-2-3-1 in favor of the ‘double pivot’ with a holding midfielder (Nemanja Matic) and a deep-lying playmaker (Fabregas).
Although the Premier League has not been as competitive from top-to-bottom as in recent seasons, Chelsea is statistically the most dominant in Premier League history spending the entire season either top or joint top of the table. The team will set a new record of going 274 days at the top of the table, breaking Manchester United’s 262 days on top of the table in the 1993-94 season.