Last season, Mourinho described Chelsea as a ‘little horse’ in the race for the Premier League title, a horse that needed to learn how to jump.
This season the same ‘little horse’ has claimed the English League Cup and are the Champions of England after winning the Premier League title. With two losses in the Premier League and three in all competitions, Jose Mourinho has transformed Chelsea into a side that is flawless in all departments of the game.
Today we take a look at the main reasons the why the Blues have become Premier League champions:
1. The Impeccable Defense
Chelsea’s defense has been one the reasons why the Blues have been on top of the table throughout this season. With 20 goals and 15 assists, the back four have surprised everyone with the skills they possess when they are at the ‘wrong’ end of the pitch. They also boast the best defensive record in the division, keeping 17 clean sheets and conceding just 28 goals. Stamford Bridge has yet again been a fortress with the Blues unbeaten in 98.95% of Premier League home games under the Portuguese tactician.
Let us now take a look at a few players who have consistently given impressive performances throughout the season:
Last season Petr Cech was brilliant in his own style, and Mourinho might have had multiple headaches before declaring the young Belgian as his number one keeper for the season. Courtois returned to his parent club after successful loan stints at Atletico Madrid. From keeping out Lallana’s beamer in the League Cup to the dynamic triple save against Hull City, Thibaut Courtois has been a key part of Chelsea’s title-winning squad this season. With 13 clean sheets in 31 appearances, Courtois has managed to dislodge Chelsea’s long-term number one, Petr Cech. Arguably one of the top keepers in the world, Courtois has already gained a wealth of experience playing in Europe’s top clashes. At a young age of 23, the Belgian has plenty of years in him to unleash the raw talent that he possesses.
Even at the age of 34, skipper John Terry has played each and every game this season amounting to whopping 3240 minutes on the pitch. The Chelsea Legend has an impressive tackle success rate of 86.8% this season. Mourinho recently claimed that Terry’s performance against Arsenal was the best defensive performance he has ever seen. JT has managed to rack up 13 clearances, won 4 out of 4 aerial duels, conceded no free-kicks and won 2 free-kicks this season. With a staggering 86% pass completion, John Terry proved once again why he deserved an extension to his contract. The Chelsea legend has also taken Kurt Zouma under his wing, making him gain priceless experience that could transform the young Frenchman into a world class defender. From match-winning headers to putting his body on the line during an intense game, John Terry has done it all for his club this season. The former England captain became the highest scoring defender in Premier League history on Sunday, moving clear of former Everton left-back, David Unsworth. What makes the achievement even more staggering is that all of Terry’s goals have been from open play, unlike Unsworth. Even at 34, John Terry is still, without a doubt, the best defender in England.
Re-signed from Benfica in January 2014, Matic has been magnificent at the heart of the Chelsea midfield this season. With a win ratio of 72%, the Serbian defensive midfielder has proved to be exceptional at what he delivers throughout the 90 minutes. In 33 Premier League appearances, the Blues have lost only one game with the Serbian spider on the pitch. His prowling presence, tackling strength and defensive acumen in midfield offers more freedom to the creative players upfront and his midfield partner Cesc Fabregas to play expansive football. The back four know that the opposition has to break down this 6’4″ wall in order to trouble them, and very few have managed to get the better of him. With 3.6 tackles per game, Nemanja Matic has evolved into a player every side dreams to have. The Blues have searched for a newer and improved version of Claude Makelele for years. In Nemanja Matic, they have certainly found an exceptional and irreplaceable player to don the Makelele role.
2. Balance and Winning Mentality
Chelsea are the only team in the Premier League who have got it right from Thibaut Courtois to Diego Costa, making them a team any manager in the world would love to inherit. They have often shown the spirit of champions, churning out necessary results in every game they played, be it home or away. A squad as focused as this is rare to find. Teams are often described to be either offensive or defensive but never having both these crucial qualities. One has to admire the work rate every individual has put into each game all season long. From their 5-0 win against Swansea to tactically demolishing Manchester United 1-0, Mourinho’s men have certainly upped their ante from last season. The Blues have registered 14 points out of a possible 24 against the top 4 clubs in England this season, one of the crucial reasons why they have been on top of the table from day one. The ability of this squad to grind out results or find a vital goal has been second to none. A total of 13 Chelsea players have made 20 or more Premier League appearances this season, showcasing how well this squad has performed with Mourinho relying upon the same individuals every game.
The ‘little horse’ has certainly grown up to become England’s best Stallion. Jose Mourinho has evolved this side into something that is flawless and impenetrable each time they are on the pitch. They have always possessed a strong bond and have fought alongside each other to win the Premier League title.
This brings us to the end of Part One.
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni
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