This week’s column will discuss the return of Mourinho to Stamford Bridge, his accolades with the Blues, as well as discuss Chelsea’s busy start to the 2013/2014 season.
“Jose Mourinho, Jose Mourinho” echoed across Stamford Bridge on Sunday as the newly reappointed Chelsea manager made his way toward the home dugout for his first competitive match of the season at Stamford Bridge. “We are the happy ones”, “Welcome home Jose” posters were seen throughout the crowds. For the first time in many seasons, there was nothing but positivity and passion portrayed by the home supporters. Mourinho, dubbed ‘The Special One’ during his first spell at Chelsea, has earned the respect of the club, Chelsea management, staff, players and supporters alike, through his achievements as well as his passion for the club.
The Portuguese manager holds an impressive undefeated status in all competitive league matches played at Stamford Bridge.
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Jose Mourinho is the most successful manager in Chelsea history and during his time at the club led his side to two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup.
After his first competitive match in charge against Hull City on Sunday, Mourinho could barely contain his excitement over his new, young squad. Commenting on the first-half in which his side went up 2-0 Mourinho said: “I’m very happy, I was saying before about the quality, dynamic and creativity. I’ve played so many times here and won so many matches, but I’ve never had such a period of fantastic play like we had”. With an abundance of young, talented players, flair, creative, fast, dynamic, one-touch, defence-disorienting play can be expected by the Blues this season.
Mourinho has made no secret of the fact that his squad is young and not as developed as the squad he inherited in 2004, however the quality of players he has in his squad is exciting and a great prospect for the future of the club. Mourinho has highlighted two young players, Eden Hazard and Oscar, as pivotal to the team’s performance this season. He has labelled the young Belgian as a potential ‘Ballon d‘Or’ player. Mourinho has also mentioned that he would prefer to mould and play Oscar as a ‘number ten’, the position dominated in recent seasons by Juan Mata. Mata is still key in Mourinho’s plans, however could be shifted to the right-wing where he has the opportunity to come inside onto his stronger left-foot, a trademark Mourinho tactic. One thing is for sure, there is no lack of attacking talent in the Chelsea squad, with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Victor Moses and Andre Schurrle as alternative options to play behind the striker. A centre-forward is however the one position’s Mourinho feels his squad does not possess enough depth and he will be looking for a striker to compete with Fernando Torres, Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba over the coveted number nine spot. Wayne Rooney was publically identified as the intended target, however the clubs have yet to reach any agreement for the England international.
After a marathon 69 match 2012/2013 season, Chelsea kick-off the new campaign in the same demanding fashion. The opening two weeks of the new season will see the Blues play four matches, three league matches followed by the Super Cup. Chelsea played their first league match against Hull City on Sunday, where the Blues emerged victorious. On Wednesday the Blues take on Aston Villa, who will be raging with confidence after beating Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates on Saturday. On Monday, 26th August, the Blues will face the current Premier League Champions Manchester United away at Old Trafford. Despite only being the third match of the season, it will be a vital match for the title contenders and Mourinho will be looking to prove his intent to rival manager David Moyes. On Friday, the 30th August, Mourinho and his men will battle it out in the Super Cup final against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich. Chelsea will feature in the Super Cup for the second consecutive year, last season as the Champion’s League winners, and this season as the Europa League winners. A victory over the Bundesliga treble winners would surely pave the way for a brighter European campaign in 2013/2014. Thereafter many of the players will join up with their national teams for the September international fixtures.
Chelsea’s Upcoming Fixtures
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A positive start to the season could see Chelsea top their Premier League rivals Manchester United and claim their first piece of silverware, the Super Cup. Chelsea supporters will once again be spoilt for viewing pleasure!