So with three games to go Chelsea have secured the Premier League title.
It is a third for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea’s first since 2010. While Manchester City may have pressurised them during the first-half of the season and Arsenal attempted a late surge, the Blues have never really looked like being knocked off top spot. Mourinho will understandably take many of the plaudits after guiding Chelsea to a first Premier League title for five years, but five players have been key to the Blues’ success.
The striker has been a revelation for Chelsea this season after joining from Atletico Madrid last summer.
While injuries may have hampered his role in the final stages of the title tilt, there can be no denying Costa’s significance at the start of the season. The Spain international struck nine times in his first seven Premier League appearances, helping Chelsea claim an early lead in their search for the title. Without him Mourinho’s side just isn’t the same, lacking the aggression and goals the striker brings to the team. It was clear Chelsea were in need of a forward last season and with 19 Premier League goals Costa has clearly solved that problem.
The PFA Player of the Year has undoubtedly been Chelsea’s man of the season too. With star striker Costa struggling for fitness and the rest of the team showing signs of fatigue, Hazard has almost single-handedly dragged Chelsea over the line. One of the best dribblers on the planet and blessed with electric pace, the 24-year-old has tormented defenders all season. While his tricks and flicks may catch the eye, it is the attacking midfielder’s goals that have proven so valuable. The Belgian has scored four times in Chelsea’s last seven matches, including the crucial winner in the 1-0 victory over Manchester United last month. Against Crystal Palace he was once again the match-winner, a scenario that has become ever so familiar during Chelsea’s march to the title.
A fourth Premier League title for Mr Chelsea and once again the defender has been at the heart of his team’s success. At 34 question marks may have been raised about whether Terry was able to still cut it at the top, but his partnership with Gary Cahill has been pivotal. Terry has typified the Blues’ grit during their run-in, helping them concede just two goals during the whole of April. Terry recently signed a one-year contract extension and Mourinho hailed his performance during the 0-0 draw at Arsenal as the best of his career. His efforts have ensured Chelsea have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season.
Having shipped the midfielder out as part of the deal that brought David Luiz to the club in January 2011, eyebrows were understandably raised when Chelsea parted with £21m to bring Matic back to the club.
However since returning in January 2014, the Serbian has been sensational. In his first full season back at Stamford Bridge, Matic has proved the perfect foil to the attacking talents of Fabregas and Hazard. Playing just in front of the back four, the Serbian’s presence has undeniably had a huge impact on Chelsea’s defensive record. Indeed it is Matic’s screening which has seen Cahill and Terry shine in the centre of defence. The anchor of Chelsea’s midfield and an invaluable member of Mourinho’s squad.
After it had emerged that Fabregas would be leaving Barcelona last summer it was no surprise to see the midfielder back in London. However few had predicted seeing the Spaniard pulling on the blue of Chelsea. Arsenal’s loss has been Chelsea’s gain though. Like Costa, the midfielder hit the ground running and his form in the early stages helped Mourinho’s side establish an unassailable lead. The 27-year-old may have gone off the boil slightly during the closing stages of the campaign but his arrival has been another masterstroke by Mourinho, with the Spaniard having the talent and composure to keeping the Chelsea midfield ticking.
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