A Blue Legacy: The Culmination
So Chelsea have played the last game of calendar year 2014, it was a draw. The performance though, a complete winner. It is matches like these that make me think that this Chelsea team could be called the best ever, formal announcements due in May, 2015. The Saints played very well at Saint Mary’s, completely deserving their 4th spot on the league table at the end of the year. But Chelsea played better, dictated terms. Scoreline could have reflected their superiority had it not been for a very intelligent referee decision. The waves of Chelsea attacks in the last twenty minutes were simply too strong for Southampton.
It was in stark contrast to another Mourinho team that beat Arsenal to the FA Community Shield match in 2005. That team went on to win a second consecutive Premier League title, convincingly enough to be considered better than Manchester City of the 2013-14 campaign. After the loss to that Community Shield winning team and eventual Premier League Champion side, Arsene Wenger had the following view:
“Did you see the game today? You can be worried if you are a Chelsea supporter.”
Well, Wenger also labeled Chelsea akin to a doper athlete and what not for the financial muscle they had attained thanks to the Russian Oligarch owner. He also said this about a certain Spanish midfielder who still played for his side:
“He controlled the game and for me was outstanding. ”
Soon enough, given another opportunity, Fabregas would be unwanted for Wenger and the rest would sooner be history.
The reason I have put all this in perspective is because it has been a long time since the Chelsea team of 2005-06 pimped Arsenal to the Community Shield, retained the Premier League title. Arsenal that season finished out of the top two for the first time under Wenger. They also lost to Chelsea in the league for the first time under Wenger. So much for the playing style, eh?
This is how the stats talked when Chelsea ended 2005-06 with a trophy:
That was 4 points less than that of last season’s (2004-05) historic campaign. However, the performances had been a lot different than the first season under Mourinho. To understand this, one needs to look at the Away Performance of the team in the league:
In comparison, the previous title Charge had been much more effective, even on the road:
In fact, in 2004-05, Chelsea had scored more goals away from home than they had been able to do at the Bridge. While, in 05-06, they had scored less and conceded more, and hence had much fewer points accrued away from home. It was still enough to keep Manchester United at 8 points’ distance away from the league and that too with a much better goal difference than the Red Devils.
If 2004-05 was the trailblazing campaign, that set a milestone of efficiency and effectiveness in all aspects of the game, 2005-06 was more about expressing and using the superiority in a much relaxed manner that the team so obviously enjoyed over their rivals.
For instance, let’s compare Manchester City’s league performance from last season’s title-winning campaign to that of Chelsea’s not so impressive 2005-06:
Chelsea in 2005-06:
And in 2004-05:
It is quite clear, that:
Chelsea of 2005-06, who were not as good as their previous campaign, were still better than Manchester City’s Champions of 2014. Apart from their prolific goalscoring. It would be a catastrophe to compare the two teams’ playing style, and yet, in the points tally that Chelsea side beats City handily. But people don’t often compare two Champions in such manner, let alone remember league table stats.
The fans remember the carefree, attacking football. The miraculous goals and the breathtaking hat-tricks. This is where the current season would count for Chelsea for years to come, hopefully.
During the 2004-05 season, Didier Drogba was not yet the Talisman, which he’d become in the later years. Hence, the goals scored were not as good as they could have been. Frank Lampard scored 20 goals that season. Any Premier League striker would envy that kind of a figure. It was a team that knew how to get results that they needed out of games. On several occasions, the winning goals came in the last 20 minutes of the game.
The 2005-06 Chelsea Campaign:
The First Half:
For comparison, here’s the current table (as on date of publication):
Fresh from winning the Premier League after almost half a century, Chelsea began their Premier League defence in Prime fashion. Winning all but 2 games of the first half of the campaign. The draw was at Merseyside, at the hands of Everton, while the loss came at Old Trafford, where United won 1-0 on 6 November. It also included away victory at Spurs as well as Liverpool, who were thrashed 4-1 at Anfield. Arsenal was beaten at Highbury by 2 goals to nil while the boxing day game at Stamford Bridge saw Chelsea beat Cottagers 3-2.
In the current season, Chelsea have had not as good a start, yet they can be confident because of important away draws secured at the Etihad and Old Trafford. Last season’s title rivals Liverpool have already been beaten at Anfield by the Blues. What awaits is perhaps better than what has been, given the fact that City are yet to make their most difficult away trips. And yes, Chelsea’s 19th game of 2005-06 was against Manchester City, which they won 1-0.
The Second Half:
While Chelsea conceded no goals in the first six games of the campaign, the defense lost its concentration in the second half of the campaign as they allowed more goals. In addition to that, the goal-scorers were not as effective in the second half of the campaign as in the first and scored only 31 goals. The goals difference in the second half remained at +18 and total points accrued were just 39. Had it not been for the somewhat lacklustre second half of the season, Chelsea may well have finished the campaign with 100 points.
The draws of the second half were against Charlton at Home, then at Villa Park. The first of April saw Chelsea play an away draw against Birmingham City.
The losses were more shocking, yet understandable given the fact that Chelsea had never let go of the first place since game day 3 of the season. Middlesbrough beat Chelsea 3-0, and Chelsea were then beaten at Craven Cottage in the derby. Chelsea also lost the last two fixtures away from home to Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. Makes me wonder, could Chelsea do that last season? Nope.
stats courtesy statto.com
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