After not winning a trophy for the second straight season, Jose Mourinho will have been left feeling disappointed with his Chelsea side that ended the campaign in third place, behind Man City and Liverpool. Although it was his first season back in charge at the London club, since leaving in 2007, Mourinho would have expected to at least have something to show for his efforts last season. After calling Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger a “Specialist in Failure”, it seems ironic that Wenger ended the season with more trophies than Mourinho. Next season will be seen as vitally important, because if he doesn’t win anything and goes a third year without putting something in his trophy cabinet, questions will be asked. In this article, I will analyse whether or not Chelsea are favourites to win the Premier League next year after a summer of spending.
I believe the signings Mourinho makes this summer will have the biggest impact on Chelsea’s chances of winning the league in 2015. Chelsea have brought in some quality players so far this summer, improving on an already very strong squad. They have strengthened in key positions such as striker and left-back and have bolstered their midfield even further through the acquisition of Cesc Fabregas. One well documented flaw in Chelsea’s title challenge last season, was the fact that they didn’t have a striker capable of scoring 20+ goals per season. In all competitions Torres, Eto and Ba scored a combined 31 goals. However in Diego Costa, they have found exactly what they have been looking for. The Brazilian born 25 year old netted an impressive 36 goals in all competitions and notched up 7 assists along the way. With Chelsea favoring a 4-2-3-1 formation, Costa is a perfect fit. He is strong, quick and athletic, giving him all the attributes suitable for playing in a lone striker system. In pre-season so far Costa, has scored once and set up twice in 2 appearances showing he has settled in well already. When comparing Costa to Chelsea’s strikers last season, it is clear to see who performed the best of all four.
With Demba Ba having moved to Turkish club Beşiktaş, Mourinho had identified that his options were thin and that he needed another striker to supplement Costa and Torres. This has led to him bringing back club legend, Didier Drogba. Drogba left Chelsea on a high after sealing the Champions League with the winning penalty versus Bayern Munich, in the 2012 Final. He will be a very strong back up for the side, as he has an eye for a goal, having scored 14 goals last term for Galatasaray and has already bagged 100 goals in the Premier League, in his previous spell at the club. The much loved Ivorian, is said to have an option in his contract to become part of Mourinho’s coaching staff, once his playing time has ended.
Another reason I feel Chelsea are favourites to be crowned Premier League Champions, is that they have signed a proper left-back. Filipe Luís was bought for a fee in the region of £15 million (According to Sky Sports) from Spanish champions Athletico Madrid. He impressed everyone last season, and was one of the stand out performers in the team that surprised everyone to beat Barcelona and Madrid to the title. His performances were even good enough to earn himself a spot in the Brazilian stand by squad for the World Cup. Last season Mourinho made a controversial decision to omit Ashley Cole from the starting team, and instead used right-back César Azpilicueta as a replacement. Although Azpilicueta did very well in his adapted role, it is clear for all to see that he is definitely not suited to playing there, and he looked very out of place and uncomfortable when it came to going forward and contributing to the attack. I feel Luis will bring better quality to the left-back position and improve the already outstanding defence even further.
Not only has Mourinho added players to the positions that he needs, but he has strengthened in areas overall. After Lampard moving on to New York City FC, Mourinho has replaced the Chelsea legend with Spanish playmaker Cesc Fabregas. From his 8 years at Arsenal, Fabregas has the sixth highest amount of assists in Premier League history, and since 2007 Fabregas has registered the most assists in the Premier League despite leaving in 2011 for boyhood club Barcelona. Despite 3 successful seasons at the the Catalonian side, the dream was too good to be true and Fabregas couldn’t nail down a place in the first team, which eventually lead to him wanting an exit. With Chelsea back in pre-season, Fabregas has already scored a free kick and provided an assist, and like Costa, seems to have settled well into the squad.
Overall though, a lot of whether Chelsea will win the league or not, depends on the fortunes of the teams surrounding them in the table. Manchester City seems to have bought wisely so far this summer by signing Fernando and the seemingly imminent arrival of Eliaquim Mangala. Also Yaya Toure pledging his future to the club will be a big boost, as they look to continue their dominance again next season. Another team I feel could mount a challenge again is Liverpool. The Reds surprised everyone last campaign by their relentless attacking football, but after losing Suarez, next season will wholly depend on how they cope with the loss and whether or not the new signings can hit the ground running. Arsenal have also recruited well capturing Chile international Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, but they still need a better striker as Giroud just isn’t up to standard in my opinion for a team looking to challenge at the top of the table. Louis Van Gaal’s United team has a bit of flair in their play at the moment with the confidence the new manager has gave them, however, the team has undergone major surgery so far and they may take some time to develop together as a unit, so overall i feel that a title challenge just isn’t realistic at this early stage of Van Gaal’s reign.