Seven reasons why Chelsea didn’t deserve to win the Premier League
Here are seven reasons why Chelsea didn't deserve to win the Premier League title after a goalless draw all but ends title bid
1. Lack of a prolific striker
It is the most obvious fault in the current Chelsea side – Jose Mourinho lacks a proven goal-scorer in his prime. Yes, the Blues manager signed his trusted Inter Milan colleague Samuel Eto’o, but the Cameroon international is a shadow of the player who shone at the San Siro (and Barcelona). Just look at Chelsea’s Premier League title rivals. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored 30 Premier League goals and even injury-prone Sergio Aguero has managed more goals than all the Blues forwards combined in 18 top-flight outings. If Mourinho gets Diego Costa or a prolific finisher this summer, expect Chelsea to be top in May 2015.
2. Lack of a world-class core
The lack of a proven finisher is one fourth of a vital spine that all title-winning sides need. Chelsea have a top goalkeeper in the shape of Petr Cech, a talismanic leader in John Terry, but have lacked a dominant midfielder and clinical striker. Admittedly, Mourinho has addressed the midfield issue, Nemanja Matic has been quietly impressive since returning to Stamford Bridge from Benfica. The Serbia international brushed aside his Norwich City opponents during a goalless draw, and at just 25, Matic looks set to play a key part in the latest Chelsea dynasty. Liverpool have a solid spine of Simon Mignolet, Martin Skrtel, Steven Gerrard and Suarez, whilst City boast Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Aguero (when fit).
3. Losses to lower table clubs
If you could combine Chelsea’s ability to beat their title rivals with Arsenal’s near-perfect results against most of the Premier Leauge’s bottom 14, you’d have the makings of a great campaign. However, Arsenal’s strength has proven Chelsea’s biggest weakness this season. Mourinho’s men have slipped up against Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Sunderland this year. While the Special One has the measure of his closest challengers, Mourinho needs to return to those ground-out 1-0 wins that were a trademark of his title-winning sides during his first reign.
4. Mourinho and his stoodges
Eggs, little horses – Mourinho can sometimes outdo his side in terms of entertainment value with his iconic soundbites. But the 51-year-old’s clashes with the FA and Premier League officials have grown tiresome. OK, Mourinho may be attempting to deflect scrutiny on his Chelsea side onto him, but it hasn’t worked – and has proven costly. The Chelsea manager joked that he preferred to give money to charity anonymously after his recent fines from the FA, but Mourinho has tested the patience of fans of the Premier League with his outbursts at officials and cagey news conferences. For once, the Portuguese’s off-field mind games appear to have backfired.
5. Selling Mata to Manchester United
Juan Mata’s move to Manchester United was the biggest story of the January transfer window. The jury is out on whether the transfer was better for Chelsea or Manchester United. Red Devils manager David Moyes coughed up a club-record £37.1m fee for the Spain international, but the back-to-back Chelsea player of the year was unable to save Moyes his job. Mata has scored five goals and made four assists for his new club. Mourinho’s decision to sell the 25-year-old appeared to be motivated by his desire to have hard-working attacking midfielders willing to do defensive jobs when required, like Andre Schurrle and Willian (take note Eden Hazard). But if Mata had still been at Chelsea, surely the former Valencia man would have been a welcome alternative to unlock the likes of Norwich and Palace?
6. Parking the bus
Whilst Liverpool and their supporters have been at pains to criticise Mourinho’s negative tactics at Anfield last weekend, the Chelsea manager’s strategy worked. Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone defended Mourinho’s tactics ahead of their semi-final triumph at Stamford Bridge, insisting there are many ways to win a football game. But Chelsea’s approach to the Liverpool clash left a sour taste in the mouth. There’s parking the bus, and there’s parking two buses. The Blues used every trick in the book, and it looks like the west London side got their comeuppance after Norwich parked their own minibus at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
7. Mourinho didn’t back the ‘little horses’
Perhaps this is the most compelling reason of all. Mourinho’s eggs weren’t ready to hatch, by his own admission. The Chelsea manager was a jockey on a little horse, not ready to pip Arsenal and City to the Premier League finishing post. Mourinho must secretly hope that dark horses Liverpool miss the Premier League title, otherwise the Blues manager will be left looking – well, sheepish. The former Real Madrid manager insisted his Chelsea side were a work in progress – and who are we to doubt a two-time Premier League winner and three-time European champion?