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Chelsea 2014/2015 – A Tale Of Two Seasons

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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.

Chelsea 2014/2015 Squad Dynamics

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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.

Even The Referees Could Not Deny Chelsea This Year

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In the 2014/2015 season Chelsea did not get anywhere near the number of penalties they deserved, this season it will not matter as the league has been won with something to spare but in future seasons it could be decisive.

Think I am being paranoid? Then take the recent Arsenal game, Chelsea were denied two penalties during the game that left little to be argued, a draw for Chelsea was enough to set up the league at Crystal palace but Chelsea were denied two points that on other occasions could be decisive.

Goals win matches and the penalty spot is almost an absolute lock with Eden Hazard as the lead penalty taker, therefore the denial of penalties in games big and small could be the difference between a title and a near miss in the future.

A Campaign Against Chelsea?

 

The number of non-calls this season was appalling, and disgusting. I don’t know if there is a campaign against Chelsea or not, but this needs to stop. I lost count of the number of times this season Chelsea should have been fairly awarded a spot kick, and didn’t get it. What made it worse was the number of times Chelsea players were booked for simulation for clear penalties, you are not going to get every decision but to get accused of cheating on top of not getting the penalty is ridiculous.

Will It Change Next Season

The refereeing this season across the Premier League but Mourinho has painted a target on the club’s back by being so outspoken about the poor decisions he felt Chelsea have received, referees do not take kindly to this so I would not expect a renaissance in refereeing anytime soon.

I hope next season referees actually award penalties to Chelsea when they are deserved and we get better rub of the green.

 

Players of The Chelsea 2014/2015 Title Win

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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.

The Mourinho Factor In Winning The League

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Last season, Chelsea almost went all the way in the Champions League, succumbing to a late collapse in the 2nd leg of the semi final against Athletico Madrid. In the league, they only needed 4 wins to secure the title, but could not pull it off. All of this was despite missing several crucial pieces to the squad. Mourinho identified these gaps early on, and as soon as last season ended, the club went out and acquired the players Mourinho needed.

Enter the Mourinho factor to winning the league.

The strikers were cleared out, and better ones brought in. A new left back was acquired, and Courtois was brought back from his loan. Chelsea also brought in Fabregas, who turned out to be the midfield general the team needed. Deadwood was cleared out, and promising young players sent out on loan. The result? Mourinho crafted a well balanced squad, that had a mix of talented young players with exciting potential, veterans who were in the prime of their career, and seasoned war dogs who had the experience to guide the squad through any challenge.

But having the right players isn’t enough, if there is no strategy on how to use them. And here, this season we saw Mourinho at his best, he was Ender in Ender’s Game. For those of you who never read the book, the short synopsis is that Ender is a genius kid, with a talent for strategy and leadership. He is given command of an army made up of the youngest kids in the battle school, the weakest, the smallest. the rejects.

However, unknown to the rest of the school, these kids are individually the best, and when put under the leadership of Ender, turn into the most feared army in battle school, routinely demolishing armies made up of kids who were significantly older and bigger and faster. Why? Ender turned his army into a machine that was infinitely adaptable. It could respond to any challenge, adapt to any problem, and find the resolve and steel to grind out results when needed.

The Mourinho factor has crafted this Chelsea side into an infinitely adaptable weapon. The squad can do anything he wishes for them to do, for as long as he wants them to do. This season, Chelsea played every kind of game: Possession-heavy styles with quick incisive passing, possession-heavy styles against teams that park the bus, defensive styles against more attacking teams with reliance on counter attacks, high pressing defensive games to force teams into errors.

Chelsea have also had to adapt to numerous challenges: teams that rely on long balls into the box, critical injuries to Diego Costa and Fabregas, suspensions, congested fixture schedules. And in almost every test, Chelsea have responded with the result. In effect, the Mourinho factor has created a pragmatic side, that has no fixed style, and adapts based on the opponent that day. Being so flexible is what won the title, and being flexible is what will see Chelsea have sustained success going into the future.

Chelsea Meme Shows Blues Football Dominance

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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.

We’re Going To Win The League – Thoughts Ahead Of Palace

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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.

Cesc Fabregas Song – Fabregas Is Magic He Wears A Magic Hat

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It has taken almost a year but Cesc Fabregas finally has his own song from the Chelsea faithful to the tune of “My Old Man’s A Dustman”

The Cesc Fabregas song was doing the rounds before, during and after the Arsenal game and has caught fire since then with fans even bringing their own magic hats.

Here are the words

Fabregas is Magic, He Wears A Magic Hat

He Could Of Signed For Arsenal But He Said No F&*K That!

He passes with his left foot, he passes with his right

And When We Win The League Again We’ll Sing This Song All Night

Video – Chelsea Fans Celebrating After Manchester United Game

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Chelsea banner Matthew Harding Upper

Saturday’s game was huge for Chelsea and here are some videos of just before the end of the game and outside Stamford Bridge. The photo was taken just before kick off in the Matthew Harding Upper against Manchester United.

Zola Causing Mayhem Against Manchester United (Video)

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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