What a season. Chelsea got ahead early on in their Premier League campaign and no one could catch them, winning the title with four games to spare. Playing some of the best football in the league up until Christmas, Chelsea reverted to their “park the bus” style after their New Year’s Day embarrassment by rivals Tottenham, and they walked home the title with just one loss after the Tottenham game in their match against West Brom once they’d already secured the trophy. Other fans dubbed the way they ground out the title as “boring”, but it was exactly what Chelsea needed to do to get themselves over the line and cement themselves as the best team this season.
Chelsea’s title-winning campaign comes down to a number of factors, with Jose Mourinho being the first. Arguably the best manager in the world currently, Mourinho has won trophies everywhere he’s been. Returning “home” at the start of the 2013/14 season, Mourinho failed to win a trophy in his first season back, but after his summer recruitments, the second factor, Chelsea looked to have already secured the league before a ball was even kicked. Unlike other top clubs, Chelsea found the areas they were weakest and brought players in to improve those positions. Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and the recalling of Thibaut Courtois all proved to be huge decisions for Chelsea’s season.
Thirdly, Chelsea had immense squad depth in comparison to other challengers. Only Manchester City had anywhere near the strength in depth Chelsea had, but they failed to click at the right times, whereas Chelsea’s rotation options generally performed well when called upon, such as Filipe Luis and Loic Remy, just to name a few.
Their start to the season was so remarkable that some of the media heavily suggested that Chelsea could emulate Arsenal’s invincible season, but following a 2-1 loss away at Newcastle in early December, this dream came to a crushing end. The stats however show just how dominant Chelsea were in all aspects of the pitch. Scoring the second most goals behind Manchester City, conceding the least amount of goals and keeping the most amount of clean sheets are the biggest team accolades Chelsea hold this season. In terms of individuals, former-Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas had the most assists as well as the most passes and most touches, Eden Hazard created the most chances and finally Nemanja Matic made the most tackles. A successful league season you could say.
The stand out moments in their season have to be Andre Schurrle’s goal at Burnley on the opening day of the season, the 5-0 smashing of Swansea, grinding out the 3-2 win away at Hull and then the 1-0 win at home against Palace that saw Chelsea lift their fourth Premier League trophy.
Like some of the other top sides, Chelsea’s other competitions were hit and miss. Winning the Capital One Cup to get revenge against Tottenham was sweet for the Chelsea fans and the first trophy of the second Mourinho era. Then there was the FA Cup, where Chelsea were embarrassingly beaten 4-2 at home to League One side Bradford City, and finally the Champions League, where they had their worst performance of the season to go out against the French champions Paris Saint Germain. This is precisely where Chelsea need to improve for next season and at least reach another quarter or semi-final.
Key Player – Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard was undoubtedly the stand out man for both Chelsea and the Premier League this season, with the Belgian winger lighting up the league. His 19 goals and 11 assists in all competitions helped guide Chelsea to the Premier League title and the Capital One Cup triumph back in March.
As you can see from the graphic above, Hazard has been immense statistically. Arsenal fans have tried to liken Sanchez to Hazard but they cannot be compared. In all areas apart from goals, Hazard has outshone the Chilean and even that is down to the amount of shots he took in comparison.
Bit ambitious, yes, but Hazard’s stats aren’t far off that of both Messi and Ronaldo, the two best footballers in the world right now. Hazard converted 17% of the shots he took in the league season, not far behind Ronaldo (21%) and Messi (22%). If the 24-year-old can begin to rack up some more shots, there’s no reason why he can’t begin to score a similar amount of goals in the years to come. I am not saying in any way that Hazard is on Ronaldo or Messi’s level, just that the stats are quite alarming.
Honourable mentions here must go to Chelsea captain John Terry, who had probably his best season in a Chelsea shirt, and after being told two years ago he couldn’t play twice in a week, he defied everyone’s beliefs by playing every single minute of the Premier League season.
Most Improved Player – Willian
Many Chelsea fans were very critical of Willian this time last year, looking at his goals and assists record and slating him as a player not good enough if Chelsea wanted to challenge for the title. This season however, Willian showed exactly what he is about and proved all of these doubters wrong.
Although he could still contribute with more goals and assists, having only gotten two goals and three assists in the whole league season, Willian has still been one of the key components of Chelsea’s title winning side, linking up well with Branislav Ivanovic down the right hand side from day one. This is where he’s been so key, in allowing Ivanovic to go forward whenever he wants to, as Willian is the first to track back down that right hand side and has worked on the defensive side of his game and work rate considerably since his first season in England.
He’s endured himself to the Chelsea fans since turning down London rivals Tottenham to sign for them two years ago, but now he’s getting the performances that warrant a starting place for Chelsea, and it’s no secret that Jose Mourinho is a big fan!
Fans’ View – Ryan Darby (Head Admin of The Stamford Shed)
Chelsea’s season overall was a fantastic. We deservedly clinched the Premier League and won the League Cup too. We played some marvelous football, which sadly was overshadowed by claims of ‘boring’ tactics.
We have seen some of our big names step up to the plate when called upon, the developments in young players such as Kurt Zouma and Thibaut Courtois as well as seeing Ruben Loftus-Cheek get a chance in the first team. If we can act as swiftly in the transfer market as we did last season, we’ll be in a great position.
Our exit from the Champions League was disappointing and hopefully it is something the club can prioritise next season.
To conclude, I think Jose Mourinho has built a fantastic platform at the club. We’re still yet to see the best from this Chelsea side, with big things expected next season.