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The season is not over but with nothing else left to win the Chelsea 2015/2016 planning starts now.

This summer is going to be interesting, mainly because the other teams in the league are going to buy in order to strengthen. Manchester City might need a serious overhaul and new manager, and Arsenal…will probably just buy more attacking players instead of what they actually need. The wild card is Manchester United, who might pose a threat under Louis Van Gaal next season if he can get the right players to balance his squad and fill the holes.

Chelsea however will see changes too. First, and most tragic, is Petr Cech leaving. I was hoping Cech would retire here, but he is a top 3 keeper, and so is Courtois. That situation can’t stay the same forever, and one of them has to leave. As much as I hate to say it, the team has to look to the future, and Courtois is young enough to be part of that future, Cech is not. He wants to play for a top team, and this summer will have plenty of offers. I will be sad to see him go however.

As I mentioned earlier in the post, we need some better cover for the center midfield and attacking midfield positions, so that suspensions and injuries don’t disrupt the team in the way they did this season. This need not be a massive influx of players, maybe one signing in each position should suffice, and then bring in several young players. Ruben Loftus-Cheek would actually be sufficient if Mikel doesn’t leave this summer, though I suspect the Nigerian might be on his way out.

He will also be missed, and he was always one of my favourite players at the club.

I’m curious as to whether or not Drogba will stay as a player. He provided some massive goals this season, but everyone could see that his age was finally catching up to him, and he didn’t have the legs to threaten as he once used to. I wonder if Patrick Bamford is brought in next season to provide a third option, or if Drogba will continue to play for one more season as third choice.

But I am glad him and Remy were brought in, because they scored massive goals when Costa was gone, and deputized ably.

Next season, I would like to Chelsea retain the league title, and also win at least one of the domestic cups again. A league and cup double is always so satisfying. I also expect them to move further into the Champions League next season, ideally to win it. The squad we have is excellent now, and with some more depth, means we can rest big players to keep them fresh for the big CL games. I think this squad can handle the big guns next season, be it Madrid, Barca or Bayern, and there is no excuse for at least not making it to the semi finals.

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This season actually saw two different versions of Chelsea. In the first half of the season, Chelsea played some really beautiful football. There was quick passing, chance creation, trickery, flair, speed, and good defending as well. It was pleasing on the eye and saw plenty of goals. However, January saw a different Chelsea side, that started grinding out wins slowly and methodically.

Whether it was due to fatigue, critical injuries or suspensions or teams adapting to their style of play, Chelsea fell out of the attacking rhythm they had developed in the first few months of the season.

But Mourinho knows how to get results, and he set his team out to win, and win they did. Consistently, methodically, one game at a time. It is this consistency that saw Chelsea win the league. The team were top of the league since day 1, and lost only twice all season, freak results that no one really saw coming. Some weak refereeing in big games meant Chelsea had to settle for draws with the big teams instead of wins, but those results ended up working out in Chelsea’s favour anyway.

But it was crucial wins against Everton, QPR, West Ham and Hull that saw Chelsea pull ahead of Manchester City, who had drawn level on points with Chelsea in January when the team lost 5-3 to Tottenham of all teams (Shocking right?). But as the second half of the season wore on, Chelsea pulled away from City again, creating another big gap in points.

It is typical of Mourinho sides, but this Chelsea side just know how to win. Whenever a goal was needed, someone stepped up and provided it. Whenever a good defensive performance was needed, the team dug in, rolled up their sleeves and got the job done.

Whenever a big a game was played in the league, Chelsea focused and kept their shape, using counter attacks to devastating effect. Nice performances are great, but wins are what matter, and Chelsea developed a knack of getting those 3 points every game, somehow, someway. That’s how champions are made, and that’s how champions stay at the top.

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People have drawn comparisons between this Chelsea squad and Mourinho’s first Chelsea squad, and there are some: A physical, dynamic center forward, a hit squad of pacy, intelligent and dynamic attacking midfielders, a gigantic midfield enforcer, a settled back 4, and a young keeper who is also one of the top 3 in the world right now.

However the similarities end there.

Chelsea 2014/2015 Squad Dynamics

Mourinho’s first Chelsea squad was essentially a bludgeon, a war hammer, that could just grind teams down and wear them out. It wasn’t pretty, but it was consistent, and it got results. No team could outfight Chelsea, outlast them, outjump them, or outrun them. It relied on raw power to defend and attack. This Chelsea side rely more on speed, trickery and fluid interchange of positions when attacking, and high-intensity pressing at pace in defense – the scalpel as opposed to the hammer.

While the current version may not be as defensively ruthless as the first Mourinho Chelsea side, it is still menacing, just in its own way. This season so far, Chelsea has kept 17 clean sheets, and conceded 27 goals, the fewest in the league. In attack, they are the second highest scoring team, with only Manchester City ahead of them in that regard. And they accomplished this while only using 22 players, the fewest of any team in the premier league.

Mourinho doesn’t rotate or change often, and once he has a settled side, he sticks with it. But here too lies the problem this season, that perhaps this squad burned out, as the same players were being used too often. The Champions League exit against PSG, particularly the second leg, saw the players looking drained even before the game had reached half time. It was lethargic, slow, plodding.

Elimination from the competition helped the players rest more, as there were now fewer games. While Chelsea took strides to add to both the starting XI and the depth, more players are needed in the summer to add more depth and dimension to the squad. This is particularly the case for the central midfield and attacking midfield positions. Chelsea shipped off Salah and Schurrle in January, and brought in Cuadrado for 30 million pounds.

Thus far, I have not been impressed by Cuadrado, and his limited game time suggest Mourinho doesn’t trust him yet either. Oscar was brilliant in the first half of the season, as always, and then promptly stopped being good once January rolled around. We need more quality depth here, so that injuries, fatigue or suspensions don’t cripple our attack, especially given that the side is heavily reliant on Hazard. In central midfield, quality cover is needed for both Fabregas and Matic – players who can both defend competently and distribute the ball with accuracy and ambition. Ramires is better in a 3 man midfield as a box-to-box player, and is hampered by the 2 man midfield pivot, though he is useful cover.

Mikel is a good defensive option, but the lack of appearances this season suggests he might be on his way out this summer. This does not mean a shopping spree, but rather a few shrewd acquisitions to tweak the squad.

One thing that still bothered me this season was that we struggled to score goals when we shouldn’t have. One cause of this is simply that our players can’t finish chances. Hazard or Fabregas might create brilliant chances, but no one can finish them. The other is that our attacking players just don’t shoot the ball enough. I’m reminded here of the winning goal Willian scored against Everton, in stoppage time.

Willian has a great shot, but rarely uses it. Ditto for both Oscar. Hazard shoot probably be shooting more as well, though he scores different kinds of goals. Too often the squad tries to walk the ball into the net when they could just shoot the ball when in a good goal scoring position.

A final thought here, and this will be really cheesy, but Chelsea players just seem to be at home here. I don’t know if that is the case for other teams, but watching them play, watching them in the media, watching Mourinho in interviews, you get the feeling that everyone at the club is there because they love the crest on their shirt, they love the club, they love the fans. Mourinho looks so at ease now, because he is home, he is at his club, the club he was meant for, and he has the backing of everyone.

The players love it here, and haven’t set their eyes on other pastures, because Chelsea is a place to be, it is a place to belong. And I love that this culture still exists, that new players have to in a sense buy into the the club and what it means, and I hope that continues.

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Here are the players and revelations of the 2014/2015 Chelsea title win

1) Kurt Zouma

The Zouma seen at the end of this season is nothing like the Zouma seen during pre-season. Pre-season Zouma was all raw potential – physical ability without polish. I am still amazed at how much he has developed in one single season. He went from raw to cool and composed, playing a massive role in Chelsea’s second game against Manchester City. Whenever he played in central defense he looked ruthless, engaging the ball, making crunching tackles, winning headers, making last-ditch interceptions, was one of the first to wade into fights between players, and just generally got “stuck in”, as coaches like to say. He rarely made serious mistakes, and had the pace to correct them.

I remember two instance, first in the City game, where Aguero slipped free and was about to score, only for Zouma to race back and put in the perfect slide tackle to block him. Then against Everton, Lukaku managed to escape him and would have been through on goal…except that Zouma used his freakish pace to make up the ground and put in a good tackle. The kid still has work to do to improve, but this season marked his progression from a boy into a man. Next up for him is to improve awareness and passing ability.

2) Cesc Fabregas

I hated Fabregas. I hated him at Arsenal, I hated him at Barcelona. But he was the man the squad needed. He pulled the strings in midfield, and used his exceptional passing ability to set the tempo and keep the team moving. I have since grown to respect him more, and I am glad he is in the squad. His ability to make goals and chances is second to none, and he has developed a fantastic attitude. Suck failure, Wenger.

3) Diego Costa

If you’re a Chelsea fan, you love Diego Costa. If you aren’t a Chelsea fan, you hate Diego Costa. There is no middle ground here. Costa epitomizes Chelsea teams – ruthless, aggressive, fierce, brave. He plays with a snarl on his face, he has this street-fighter attitude, he plays like he’s always the underdog, having something to prove. Basically, he’s a Mourinho player. I had some misgivings about him going into the season, but those are gone now.

He’s been brilliant, and he knows how to score goals, something Chelsea lacked in previous strikers. Now he can rest and get his hamstring problem sorted out, so that he is 100% ready for next season.

4) John Terry

The guy only seems to get better with age. A few seasons ago he looked spent, and finished. But last season and this season, he has been brilliant, nigh on perfect. This is a defender who has been refined and refined and is now a true master at the craft. He was never blessed with pace, but uses superior positioning and reading of the game to snuff out danger. He always wins aerial duels, and throws his body on the line time and again to make blocks and stop shots and crosses.

He has rarely been caught out of position, and more surprisingly, barely ever gets a card these days. I can’t even remember the last time Terry got a yellow card. More importantly, he has never picked up a serious injury this season or the last, which is a testament to the coaching staff that Mourinho has. Terry has played every minute of every league game this season, and the vast majority of every other game as well.

He has never looked tired, or off the pace. At his age to be able to continue playing at such a high level is brilliant, and I can’t wait to see him again next season.

5) Eden Hazard

It is so exciting watching a young player get progressively better and better as each season goes on. Under Mourinho he has transformed, stepping it up every season. This season, he was out of this world, truly phenomenal. The future looks bright with this fella, so keep an eye on him.

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Yesterday Chelsea won the Premier League with three games to spare underlining the force of nature and hunger for winning at Stamford Bridge. This hunger extends beyond the first team and has permeated across the English game at a Mens, Womens and Youth level, even our loanees have been getting in on the act.

This Chelsea meme shows the dominance that the Blues have had in English football this season across all levels of the game.

Premier League Champions – won with three games to go, we are Champions for the first time in five years

League Cup Champions – As in his first season at the Bridge this was Mourinho’s first trophy that was followed up with a Premier League title

UEFA Youth Cup Champions –  The U19’s beat Shaktar Donestk to win the UEFA Youth Cup as part of an exciting double for our youth team

FA Youth Cup Champions – For the second year in a row our u18’s won the most prized competition in domestic youth football with talented players such as Dominic Solanke starring.

Championship Player Of The Year – Patrick Bamford’s goals on loan to Middlesbrough earned him the player of the year award in the Championship.

Women’s Player Of The Year – Ji So-Yun won the PFA Women’s player of the year award and the Chelsea Ladies team sit top of the Womens Super League. Whatever level or competition across the board the blues are dominating.

Six Players In The Player Of The Year Team –  Chelsea players took more than half the spots in the PFA team of the year – John Terry, Diego Costa, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic

PFA Player of The Year –  Eden Hazard took home the PFA player of the year award ahead of Harry Kane and co

 

 

Chelsea Dominance Meme

What a brilliant season for the Blues.

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Chelsea banner Matthew Harding Upper

At FamousCFC.com we are the most cautious and superstitious fans you could imagine, however after Leicester we cannot help but feel wholly optimistic and borderline celebratory.

It has been a long season and a nervy couple of month but it now seems that Chelsea are set to win the Premier League at a canter.

It is now a case of when and not if we will win the title as even if our closest rivals win all their games in the run in only Arsenal can currently overhaul the blues with 15 points to win and the Blues 13 ahead.

It is conceivable the Blues could lose their last four games of the season and still lift the trophy. Yet with three of our four remaining games at home it would be a brave man that would predict Chelsea will triple their number of season defeats.

Victory against Leicester means that a win at home to Crystal Palace would see the Blues win the trophy with three games to spare, which will be one hell of a statement given the jealous charge of “boring” being levied by rival fans.

Win It Against Palace

The hope among Chelsea fans will be that the league is won against Crystal Palace on Sunday giving fans an afternoon in central London to properly celebrate and be 100% sure that the job is done.

Another side effect of this would be that Liverpool have confirmed that they would give Chelsea a guard of honour should Chelsea have won the league ahead of the fixture between the two clubs.

Something that would be incredibly satisfying given the history between the two clubs and that Chelsea were instrumental in denying the scousers a title last season.

It should be a great day out and we look forward to a brilliant day in London and hopefully a party on the Fulham road.

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With Chelsea set to play Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in a crunch game with the title on the horizon it seem appropriate to look back through the archives and past performances.

Both sides have some great flare players in their teams with Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Di Maria and Rooney all likely to have some involvement and each capable of producing something out of this world to make their mark on the game.

With so much at stake a moment of magic could be the difference between the two sides today and in the past when you think of magic and Chelsea a diminutive Italian comes to mind and as you would expect he has a beauty of a goal against Manchester United in the archive.

The goal we are sharing with you comes from way back in 1997, Ruud Guillit was in charge and it was a time when Chelsea were still a few months away from winning the FA Cup. Which was the first major domestic trophy won by the club for 26 years that would forever write the name Roberto Di Matteo into folklore.

Manchester United were on a comfortable march to the title, whilst Chelsea would finish 6th, which for the time was another step forwards as teh club moved from mid table mediocrity towards being the force in English football we all know today.

Chelsea made an barnstorming start to the match with Zola setting the world alight with an amazing goal, he twisted and turned beating players this way and that before slamming the ball home with only 2 minutes on the clock. A young David Beckham equalised but Chelsea gained a respectable draw and Zola once again underlined his immense quality and ability to change a game.

So let’s just take a minute to see and appreciate the brilliance of this moment from one of Chelsea’s greatest ever players Gianfranco Zola

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This summer will see Chelsea Football Club wave goodbye to Samsung as our shirt sponsor with Yokohama taking over.

Samsung have been emblazoned on the front of our shirts for nine years, during which time Chelsea have won everything domestically and in Europe with the exception of the European Super Cup. In fact you could say that Samsung have got excellent exposure as winners during their time in the hotseat.

Chelsea have won the following since 2005/2006

  • Two Premier League titles
  • More FA Cups than you can shake a stick at
  • One European Cup
  • One Europa League
  • Some Community Shields
  • At least one League Cup (its hard to keep up)

The announcement of a new primary sponsor always gets people excited as it means that there will be an inevitable change in kit and often a change in style. Over the last few generations Chelsea have had some iconic kits and the sponsor plays a part in that.  From Commodore to Coors when I think of iconic players such as Lampard, Zola and co I can clearly see the sponsors logo emblazoned on their head.

Here is one of the theories as to what the shirt could look like

Here are the sponsors we have had in my time

COMMODORE (1987-93) and AMIGA (1993-94)

Computer company, hardly rock and roll but Amiga was on our shirts for our first Cup finals in more than 25 years and the first kits I remember, I will always love them.

COORS (1994-97)

US based beer maker, they graced the chest of Dennis Wise, Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Di Matteo and Gianluca Vialli and were sponsors for the 1997 FA Cup Final. To prove advertising works, I still look to see if the bar I am in serves their lager. Who can forget this gem.

 

AUTOGLASS (1997-01)

Hardly rock and roll but success continued under this windshield replacement company. They also were the sponsors for this my favourite Chelsea away kit chels-45

FLY EMIRATES (2001-05)

Although now associated with Arsenal, the Middle Eastern airline a forerunner of a previous sponsor Gulf Air sponsored Chelsea in their first foray into British sponsorship. They were on the chest of Frank Lampard at the Reebok as he scored the goals that saw Chelsea lift their first ever Premier League trophy. It almost feels like sacrilidge that they are now associated with Arsenal.

To explore other retro kits check out our sponsors CampRetro and their range of historic designs here – http://bit.ly/1AO1dZM

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Charlie Adam beat Thibaut Courtois with a swerving strike from 60 yards to score a goal that will be remembered as one of the most iconic in Premier League history.

Whilst some people may be looking to blame Thibaut Courtois for his positioning, this is wholly unfair, instead we should just appreciate that Adam scored a world class goal and respect that. But rather than focus too much on a member of the opposition, this is an opportunity to see some beautiful goals scored by Chelsea players throughout our history.

We have gone through the archives with CampoRetro to find some iconic goals from Chelsea legends over the years!

Chelsea legends!

Gianfranco Zola Backheel

Playing against Norwich in the FA Cup Gianfranco Zola scored a goal that defies belief. A sidefooted back heeled volley into the top corner, a magical goal with added poignance when we found out that Zola had promised to dedicate his next goal to terminally ill child who had died days before.

One of Chelsea’s greatest ever players he was a true magician and this goal sums up how he could create something from nothing.

Mario Stanic Opening Day v West Ham

After winning the FA Cup in 2000, Chelsea signed two expert finishers in Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. However on his Premier League debut fellow new signing Mario Stanic announced himself to the world.

He controls the ball, flicks it up a few times then volleys it into the net in a emphatic opening day victory.

Roberto Di Matteo FA Cup Final Goal

The Champions League winning manager also scored one of the quickest and stunning goals in FA Cup Final history. After just 43 seconds against Middlesbrough he unleashed a shot into the top corner just at the Chelsea fans got to the crescendo of 10 men went to mow. Poetic and awe inspiring this goal helped deliver Chelsea’s first trophy in more than 25 years.

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