Chelsea is my tip for Premier League success come may and here’s why. Two words: Jose Mourinho. When you look at Mourinho’s track record you will notice that his teams tend to peak in his second season at the club, his 2004 Porto side remarkably won the Champions League. His 2006 Chelsea team retained the league playing a more attractive brand of football. His 2010 Inter side won a historic treble and his 2012 Madrid team won the league and ended Pep Guadriola’s Barcelona domination. An underlying theme last season from Mourinho was the constant references too next season. “Next season will be better,” Mourinho claimed. He was mocked for referring to Chelsea as little horses but what he was implying was he had a young squad at his disposal that needed to grow. He said similar quotes in his first season at Madrid “I keep thinking and saying that it is a very, very young team, so I think the second season will be the great season for this Real Madrid team.” Ricardo Carvalaho who worked with the 51 year old at Porto, Chelsea and Madrid echoes the ideology “With him you learn every day. His second years are better than his first because the players know each other better.”
The biggest parallel with the past however is the astonishing resemblance to Mourinho’s time in Italy. After Inter crashed out of the Champions League to eventual finalist Manchester United, Mourinho spoke to club owner Massimo Moratti “I want this, this and this player to come and want to let this, this and this veteran player to go he said.” The summer of 2009 saw Mourinho strike up a remarkable deal with Barcelona over the sale of Zlatan Ibrahimoivch for £60million + Samuel Eto’o, which can be related to the sale of David Luiz to PSG, Thiago Motta and Diego Milito were purchased from Genoa, this can be compared to the arrivals of Matic and Costa. Snejder also joined from Real Madrid similar to Fabregas singing from Barcelona. The connection is uncanny. This showcases Mourinho learning from his first season and addressing all the weakness’s in his squad over the summer with shrewd signings. The following season’s treble, powered by his own signings,
Chelsea now has now the look of a ‘Mourinho team’. Slowly but surely Mourino began rebuilding the Chelsea side he in inherited. Gone were the previous starters of Mata, Luiz, Cole and Lampard as well as fringe players Ba, Bruyne, Essien and Lukaku. In came Schurrle, Willian, Matic, Costa, Fabregas, Salah and Luis. You can clearly see the contrast in the caliber of player. The style of play was completely revamped as well as Chelsea adopted a low block and became a counter attacking unit. There were glimpses last season of what’s to come, best highlighted in the 6-0 demolition of Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
Last season Chelsea had to revert to playing more defensive due to the fact that they didn’t purpose a lethal striker. Now with the services of Diego Costa Chelsea can afford play a more expansive brand of football. A more astute and dexterous Chelsea looks to continue the trend in Mourinho’s career.