Welcome to the first of our series of season reviews by fans of various clubs. In this installment, friend of the blog and Chelsea aficionado Jesus Martinez takes us through the remarkably smooth journey that was the Blues’ title-winning campaign. Follow Jesus on Twitter at @PP_CFC1905
You really couldn’t expect a Jose Mourinho championship year in his first season back at Stamford Bridge. The expectations were there from the get go, but Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich made it clear that Mourinho’s return would be one of time and long-lasting effort. Chelsea were close to the title last term, but costly dropped points to bottom half clubs sealed their fate, and all Chelsea supporters knew that the summer of 2014 would bring change in order to secure a positive charge.
The opening win against Burnley was only the beginning of what was already meant to be a title winning season. Going into the opening weekend the rules were set. The league title came first, and everything else was to follow if the football gods permitted. There were to be no major hiccups, and after that convincing 3-1 win away to Burnley on the opening weekend, Chelsea were off quicker than a virgin after sex.
My expectations were no different than most of the hardcore Chelsea faithful. Win the league, and everything else comes a distant second. The league title was obviously the goal after a five year wait, and the itch to win it has only grown over the years. This was a season in which Jose Mourinho was set with players of his choosing, and a style to his liking. From the beginning, it was evident that this Chelsea squad were no different than Mourinho’s two previous champions. Quick off the mark, scoring goals, and defending like champions. The acquisition of former Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas was a controversial one which payed off with big interest. Finally Mourhinho had a player who could build play from the back, and create space and opportunities for his wingers and star striker. With Fabregas, Mourinho had a player he knew was much needed after Chelsea struggled with creativity the year before.
The biggest need, however, was that of a star striker. Last season, the lack of an all-out goal scorer practically cost Chelsea the title. After getting rid of all three of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o (not to mention Romelo Lukaku), Diego Costa was brought in from Atletico Madrid, and his physical nature and tenacity have been everything that represents a Mourinho player.
Even I won’t hide the fact that I was concerned at first with the big purchase of Costa. After all, his health issues cost him valuable matches at Atletico, plus his mental lapses were known to be rewarded with suspensions. All of those doubts were numbed once Costa scored in the season opener. 19 goals in 24 matches were more than enough to hush his critics during his first season in England. Although a nagging hamstring injury has sidelined the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard, his contributions in the Premier League have been more than enough.
Further down the road, Mourinho’s stars continued to steamroller their way across the EPL, but as is the case with all trains, wear and tear started to take it’s toll. Without much of a battle though, Chelsea scrapped where needed, and when results were needed they were achieved. We never expected to live up to the media’s hype of an ‘invincibles’ season, but even with losses against Newcastle and Tottenham, we never lost the plot.
Our FA Cup elimination to Bradford City somewhat tarnished what we were pursuing, but the priority was still set. Besides, you can’t be Chelsea FC without a major blown out tire on the way to your eternal paradise. I mean, what kind of a season would it be if opposing supporters couldn’t troll us for some mediocre performance? Then again, the dramatic elimination to PSG in the Champions League was not so expected. Perhaps, though, despite these painful eliminations, it was the Capital One Cup final win over Tottenham that truly changed our season, and gave John Terry’s army the confidence to move forward into battle without fear of loss.
“Boring, Boring Chelsea” became a popular headline in the English rags and chant in the stands, but neither our players, the staff or the supporters seemed bothered. After all, we were on top of the world, and hate or love our style, champions always find a way to win. The slogan became popular, and the opposing supporters were always sure to throw their insecurities in our face. Why be bothered, though, by the envy of others? Why please others when what you’re doing is working? The recipe worked, and our goal was accomplished. Not since 2010 when Carlo Ancelotti lead us to our last league title has a domestic campaign felt so remarkable. The pressure bestowed upon Mourinho and his “300” was washed away, and when John Terry lifts the trophy on May 24th, a season of only upward momentum will be remembered, for not once did it ever feel that all would be lost. This great football club had a mission, a goal, a priority. Mission accomplished.
Who are we anyway? Liverpool of 2013-2014? Not even close. We started on top and finished on top, and not one day did we lose our spot. Even with all the banter and hate, the neutral and opposing supporter can’t deny that this was Chelsea’s year and they deserved their accolades. I’m quite simply satisfied and ecstatic for – as mentioned – all I wanted was the league title. The FA Cup would’ve been nice, and maybe even a better display in Europe, but that’s all forgotten for now. Next year will bring a different and refined Chelsea. The goals have changed, and the mission has taken course.
Be warned Europe. Next season we are looking to repeat our feats of 2012. However, this time around there won’t be any underdog (or pony) stories plastered all over the media. This time it will be a story of a club who came in fighting like Goliath, and winning as immortal Gods. Well done to my club this term. It’s been a joy to win a title as a “Boring Boring club.”