Champion Team, Champion Players- A Tale of Two Halves

Published 05/04/2015, 11:33 AM EDT


Chelsea, champion team in waiting since forever it seems, finally wrapped up the Premier League title after a narrow 1-0 victory at home against Crystal Palace. The Blues have been ruthlessly efficient, leading the competition by 13 points. With 4 more wins and 4 lesser losses than any other team, Chelsea’s consistency has been unmatched.

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Chelsea’s season has been a tale of two very distinct halves- while the first half oozed style and brilliance, the second followed a more pragmatic approach, something we have come to associate Jose Mourinho’s teams with. Each half was powered by a different set of players, players who unselfishly did their bit for the team.

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The Blues looked to start the season on a high, and 1-3 win against Burnley was proof of the hunger they possessed to bring the trophy back to Stamford Bridge. The summer signings played a key role in providing the spark that Chelsea had lacked so often last season. The goals flowed, and comparisons began to be made to the Arsenal ‘Invincible’ squad of 2004.

 

  1. Diego Costa

Chelsea’s 32 million pound buy of the summer battered his way past opposition defences time and time again and became the focal point of Chelsea’s attacks. He became the missing target man that Chelsea had been searching for furtively ever since Fernando Torres failed to shine at the Bridge. Combining with Fabregas perfectly, the two summer signings together provided the attacking impetus that had been the failing of Chelsea teams of the past. With 19 goals in the PL so far, the only thing that has stopped Costa terrorising the opposition even more consistently has been his hamstring troubles.

  1. Cesc Fabregas

Arsenal fans surely shed a tear or two when their former captain fantastic chose to move to West London from Barcelona at the start of the season. Their agony was further compounded by the way he linked up with fellow Spaniard Costa to turbo-charge this seemingly unbeatable Chelsea side. Becoming the creative whiz that Chelsea have often lacked, Fabregas has 17 assists so far, only 3 shy of the Premier League record for a season. With the arrival of Fabregas, Oscar has also improved since he has had the burden of being a playmaker lifted off his shoulders.

  1. Nemanja Matic

If Chelsea’s attacking players were playing with aplomb it was because they knew they had somebody to cover their backs. Matic, bought from Benfica in January, has got to be one of Jose Mourinho’s best ever signings. Sitting just in front of the defenders, Matic has provided the balance to this Chelsea side that looked slightly vulnerable defensively. Clearing the ball off dangerous counter attacks and unselfishly setting up teammates, Matic has played the role of pivot in this Chelsea team excellently.

  1. Branislav Ivanovic

Chelsea defenders Ivanovic and Terry have together scored more goals (13) than the recognized strike force of many teams, including Liverpool. The Serbian has often made quick runs down the right side of the Chelsea flank to link with a teammate and the reward has been the 7 goals that he has scored. His stout defending has only been augmented by this brilliant attacking play and he is one of Mourinho’s treasured assets.

Chelsea’s perfect season was punctured with a sharp defeat away at Newcastle in December. The slow Chelsea players were outpaced. This was only a sign of things to come, however, as a Harry Kane inspired Tottenham whipped them 5-3 on New Year’s Day and third tier Bradford shocked them by coming from 2 goals down to beat them 4-2 at the Bridge. Mourinho responded in typical Mourinho fashion, shoring things up at the back. Attacking intent was sacrificed at the altar of consistency and while the goals dried up, the Blues lead at the top increased as Manchester City were unable to keep up.

  1. John Terry

At 34, Terry isn’t getting any younger. But the way he’s played this season, even 20-year-olds would be put to shame. The Chelsea captain has the led the side by example, putting in week after week of flawless performances. After initially struggling with the quicker style of play Chelsea adopted at the beginning of the season, Terry has solidified the Chelsea back line in the concluding weeks. Sharing a terrific rapport with his fellow centre-back Gary Cahill, Terry was deservedly included in the PFA Team of the season.

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  1. Eden Hazard

Defensive solidity is one thing, but you still need goals for 3 points. Chelsea fans, have no fear, Eden Hazard is here! The diminutive Belgian, voted PFA Player of the Year, has been THE player for Chelsea this season. Tricking defenders with his dazzling footwork, he is like a magnet for fouls and the resulting set pieces have provided a steady source of goals for Chelsea. Not that he cant score from open play- the former Lille star has scored some fantastic goals and also set up teammates’ chances. With Costa and Loic Remy injured frequently and Didier Drogba not the striker he once was, the goal-scoring burden has fallen on Hazard, who hasn’t disappointed. He scored his 19 in all competitions against Palace- the goal that won Chelsea the title.

 

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Vinayak Mishra

34 articles

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