The master tactician, Jose Mourinho, has done it again. Chelsea were guaranteed the English Premier League (EPL) title for the 2014-15 season when they defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 on Sunday 3rd May. It was Chelsea's fourth league title in eleven years. Let us analyse the reason, or reasons, which made Chelsea the champs with a handful of games still remaining in the season.
Unlike Arsene Wenger's Arsenal or Barcelona, Mourinho emphasis is on getting results rather than playing beautiful football. Nothing gives him more joy than winning football games. For him 'beautiful football' is just a phrase which amounts to nothing if the club does not end up winning trophies. This ruthless attitude of Mourinho combined with many other factors contributed to Chelsea's success. The signing of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas were masterstrokes. Bringing back goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from Atletico Madrid was also a praiseworthy move. Eden Hazard has been in smashing goal-scoring form and it’s no wonder that it was his goal against Crystal Palace which secured the EPL title for the Blues.
Whatever Mourinho planned this season has worked to the point. Chelsea beat Manchester United with less than 1/3rd of the possession at home. They played a perfect defensive game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on 26th April which went a long way in helping them claim the title. Chelsea, once again, showed their qualities of structure and defensive organisation and it has now been five games since Arsenal last managed to score a goal against them. Chelsea were labelled as 'boring' by some but, as said earlier, it's the final result which is important for Mourinho rather than the way it is achieved. Nevertheless it was not all smooth sailing for the champions. In this very same match, in the final moments of the game, Arsenal had a tremendous opportunity to win it when Ignacio Monreal cut back the ball in the box, but surprisingly enough it was missed by both Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck, when either of them could have easily tapped it into the back of the net. Also, the 1-0 victory against Queens Park Rangers (QPR) earlier in April, when Cesc Fabregas scored the winning goal in the 88th minute, was a fortunate one as Chelsea just had one shot on target which resulted in a goal, while the Rangers had 15. However, the only real low point of the season was Chelsea's 5-3 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Spurs, although Mourinho claimed that, instead of demoralising the team, it inspired them. Apart from this rare hiccup, mostly it was Mourinho's brilliance at work that kept the opponents at bay. Against Manchester United, Mourinho's decision to play Kurt Zouma in order to neutralise Marouane Fellaini's aerial threat earned praise from all quarters.
The fact that Chelsea has just lost two games out of the 35 they have played so far speaks volumes about Mourinho's acumen. This is Mourinho's third EPL title: all with Chelsea. "When you work so hard and you are champions you feel you got what you deserved", Mourinho said after the victory against Crystal Palace. Mourinho has led all the teams he has coached to the pinnacle in their respective countries and sometimes in the Champions League, as well as UEFA Cup. Porto, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Real Madrid are the clubs with whom Mourinho has achieved glory. But there is no doubt that Chelsea is the closest to his heart and that this latest EPL title gave the Special One immense pleasure.