There’s a certain aura surrounding Jose Mourinho‘s Chelsea side as of late, and it spells trouble for title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal. With the return of “The Special One,” Chelsea lookS to be back to their best and have put themselves in a great position to lift the EPL title this season. This year’s team is reminiscent of the Chelsea of old that won two Premier League titles during Mourinho’s first spell in charge with the club from 2004-07, combining lightening quick counter attacks with the ability to sit back and hold a lead if necessary.
By taking a look at the 2005-06 team that won the league with Mourinho, similarities are evident. By swapping Arjen Robben with Eden Hazard, Joe Cole with Willian Borges da Silva, Didier Drogba with Demba Ba and William Gallas with David Luiz, it is hard not to make comparisons. Factor in the mainstays of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Petr Cech, and this year’s team is eerily close in terms of personnel.
That being said, Mourinho’s team this year has the potential to be even better, and with only one loss and nine wins from their last 10 Premier League games, Chelsea is in devastating form. The reason may be that this year’s team is a little different than year’s past, and it isn’t difficult to pinpoint what that difference is. There seems to be a certain swagger and flair about the Blues that has not been there in years past, and arguably not at the beginning of this particular season. Creative wizards like Oscar, Willian, Juan Mata and Hazard have been kicking into gear and are incredibly dangerous weapons that can change the tide of a game at any moment, and regularly do so, as seen this weekend when Hazard scored his team-leading 11th goal against Hull City FC.
The only area that Chelsea has struggled with is the form of front players Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Ba, who at one point this season had only five goals between them. But these are quality players, and Torres and Eto’o have recently been on the score sheets in the past weeks, with Eto’o sliding in the game winner against Liverpool and Torres sealing the game against Hull. Combine Chelsea’s forward and midfield play with defensive rocks like Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, Terry and John Obi Mikel, and this is a team that is capable of greatness.
However, winning the Premier League is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and the only way to be successful is to get wins against the good teams and grind out results against the lower teams. But with wins against rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, and draws against Arsenal and Manchester United, Chelsea has already taken eight points from teams in a league that is quickly becoming “The Big Five.”
The best thing about the Premier League, however, is that while Chelsea has been enjoying a great season, teams like Manchester City and Arsenal have been equally impressive. Manchester City currently tops the table with 47 points, with Chelsea in second with 46 and Arsenal in third with 45, but could regain the top spot if they can win their next game away at Aston Villa. With Liverpool sitting five points off the top and Manchester United languishing in seventh, it looks like it’s going to be a three horse race for the title, but don’t bet against the winning horse being painted blue.