Chelsea claimed a 3-1 win at in-form Leicester last night to move within a victory of their fifth top-flight title and fourth in the Premier League era.
Jose Mourinho’s side can confirm their title victory on Saturday with a victory over London rivals Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.
Despite their saunter to the Premier League title this season, the Blues have received heavy criticism for a perceived ‘boring’ style of play.
Mourinho is often pragmatic in big games, but more often than not that pragmatism has yielded the desired results.
To accuse Chelsea of being boring would be slightly churlish, considering that they are the second highest scorers in the Premier League, just two goals behind top scorers Manchester City, who are regarded as a team that plays decent football.
They may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but in the first few months of the campaign Chelsea were entertaining and finding the net on a more regular basis. However, like many teams at this point of the season injuries have taken their toll.
Chelsea are currently relying on veteran striker Didier Drogba to lead their attack, as first choice striker Diego Costa and French back-up Loic Remy are both sidelined through injury.
Even at 37 years-old the striker has proven he can still play some part for the Blues, as he scored the crucial equaliser against Leicester. His advancing years have obviously had an effect and he has not always been that effective, but he has done a job for the team.
Football may be entertainment, but sometimes there is more to the game than just gung-ho attacking and players rampaging forward with carefree abandon. It is a game that sometimes needs tactical planning and there is no better tactician in the Premier League than Jose Mourinho.
He may be seen as arrogant or big-headed by some, but he has a right to be with the number of titles and pieces of silverware he has collected in his career. He is quite simply one of the best managers ever and his silverware collection illustrates that point.
Mourinho is often criticised for ‘parking the bus’ in bigger games and attempting ‘anti-football’. However, that is what winners do at times. Teams cannot always play free-flowing football, with flair and imagination. Sometimes teams need to grind out results and no team does it better than a Mourinho team.
Arsenal effectively ‘parked the bus’ at Manchester City earlier this season and claimed a 2-0 victory over the champions. That display was hailed by many as a tactical masterclass by French boss Arsene Wenger, who is more accustomed to sending his teams out to play more expansive football.
The truth is Arsenal had been trying to outplay the likes of City for years and for a long time had struggled to win the big games up to that point, because Wenger refused to play a slightly more cautious style.
The question would be why was Wenger lauded for that one victory and Mourinho seems to be pilloried for his team effectively pulling off results in big games in a similar manner?
I am sure that Arsenal fans would accept their team playing in a more cautious style in a few more games if it meant that their team would win a Premier League title, or even the Champions League trophy.
Chelsea are winning and I am sure that is all that their fans, staff and players care about at the moment. The Blues are not playing defensive football in every game, as their goals for column displays quite adequately, they only play that brand of football when needs must.
For me Chelsea has been the best team in the Premier League by far and the league table shows that. They fully deserve to claim the title, whether they are called ‘boring’ or not by the media will not bother anybody of the Chelsea persuasion when they lift the Premier League trophy.
Their rivals have simply not been good enough and they will know that their teams will need to be heavily reinforced if they are going to threaten Chelsea’s crown next season.
Can Chelsea really be criticised for their style of play?