Chelsea in 2014/15 – time for Mourinho to deliver

Read Burnley in 2014/5 – More squad depth required

Read Crystal Palace in 2014/15 – Building on solid foundations

The return of Jose Mourinho for his second spell at Stamford Bridge was always going to require a period of transition and should never have expected to reap instant results. Out went the allegedly ‘work-shy’ Mata to Man Utd and Romelu Lukaku back out on loan, in came Matic, Schürrle, William, Eto’o and Salah. Azpilcueta found a new berth at left back after Ashley Cole found himself out of favour, while Cahill and Terry formed an impressive partnership that ensured Chelsea finished the campaign with the tightest defence with an average of 0.71 goals conceded per game (only 27 conceded in total, compared to the 50 and 37 that Liverpool and Man City let past them respectively).

Chelsea’s most prominent issue came up front, where Eto’o (9) Torres (5) and Ba (5) managed just 19 league goals between them, while Lukaku notched 15 on his own to Everton’s benefit. The wheels came off their title challenge when they lost three matches from the start of 2014 (including against Sunderland, Mourinho’s first home defeat at Stamford bridge ever) and drew a further three, dropping crucial points against teams they ought to have been beating. 3rd place was by no means a disaster, but expectations will quite rightly escalate for the new season.

Aims for this season

Having been backed in the transfer market already by owner Roman Abramovich, the pressure is on the manager to come up with the goods on the pitch and lift some silverware this season. Since his return, he has altered the squad significantly enough to call it his own, and there can be no excuses about the players at his disposal failing to match his style, tactics and philosophy.

Chelsea ended last season with somewhat of a whimper, so the focus will be on ensuring the new recruits bed in with minimal fuss. 27-goal Diego Costa should help Chelsea hit the net more frequently than last term, when the Blues scored around 30 fewer (71) than Liverpool (101) and Man City (102). To make the most of his talents, they must feed Costa quality service early in the season, in order to increase the striker’s confidence, following a disappointing World Cup.

Mourinho will also use this season to bring in highly-rated former St Etienne defender Kurt Zouma, who will eventually replace the ageing John Terry. Luis Felipe may also provide better balance on the left, as a more effectual Ashley Cole replacement. If the new signings can integrate, Mourinho and the fans will be confident they can reclaim the title once more.

Key summer signing so far

Cesc Fabregas. In truth, the Spaniard never truly settled in Barcelona, despite notching impressive goal and assist totals (95 appearances; 28 goals, 43 assists) in La Liga since making the move back to his boyhood club in 2011. He brings an ability to command and dictate a game from centre midfield or even as an advanced playmaker, but also a brand of craft lacking in workhorses Schürrle and Willian. The former Gunner clearly has unfinished business in England and Jose Mourinho is the perfect manager to optimise such determination. He can become the heartbeat of the West London title challengers, filling the Frank Lampard void.

Predicted finish: 1st

Mourinho has raided La Liga for three top players, two of which were integral to Atletico’s historical campaign last season. Diego Costa and Luis Felipe helped clinch the title at the Nou Camp on the final day of the season and took Simeone’s team to the Champions League final.

Together with the return of Didier Drogba, the Portuguese has the added quality and also the attacking potency required to genuinely improve on their 3rd place finish last time around. They have the squad depth, quality and firepower required to go all the way, and there is no reason why they can’t, particularly under such a decorated manager who has been there before.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Read Chelsea in 2014/15 – time for Mourinho to deliver […]

  2. […] Read Chelsea in 2014/15 – time for Mourinho to deliver […]

  3. […] Chelsea in 2014/15 Season Preview […]

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