Chelsea blew what was left of their title chances yesterday with a 0-0 draw with struggling Norwich at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues had 24 shots on goal and hit the woodwork twice. Jose Mourinho’s side also had claims for a penalty turned down.
Chelsea may only be one point behind Liverpool and Manchester City, but it seems their title chance has now gone.
Both Chelsea’s rivals have a game in-hand and if either wins then the Blues cannot catch them anyway.The Blues are now odds of 450/1 to win the Premier League title.
Jose Mourinho has come back into English football in typical Mourinho fashion. The Portuguese boss was in a no-lose position. He stated that he did not think his side would win the title and they look set to fail.
If Chelsea would have won the title, then Mourinho would have been declared a managerial mastermind. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ can now say ‘I told you so!’ Either way Mourinho would have been proven right or praised. Poor genius!
Mourinho came back to England and Chelsea to win the Premier League title. However, he has failed to do that in his first season, but did make it to the Champions League semi-final. Whether Chelsea finishing third and getting to the Champions League semi-final is regarded as success is debatable.
Mourinho has had a lot to say about other team’s tactics this season, but at times he has been hypocritical. He cannot ‘park the bus’, to use a cliché, in certain games and then criticise other teams for using the same tactic against his own team.
Mourinho’s medal collection and CV proves that the Portuguese is a top manager, but he does still like to deflect blame and cause trouble in the media. Nothing has changed there then!
In too many games this season Chelsea have lacked a cutting edge this season. With the creative talents of the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar in the team you would expect Chelsea to have slightly more cut and thrust.
However, whether it is because of Mourinho’s negative tactics or the players themselves the Blues have failed to find a way past too many average teams this season. The Chelsea boss has shown his tactical acumen against the top teams, but Chelsea has far too often slipped-up against the smaller clubs.
It is those dropped points that will cost Chelsea the title at the end of the season, not the games against their rivals, sort of a reverse of Arsenal’s form this season. Defeats against the likes of Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa that could prove decisive blows in their charge for the title.
Even Mourinho has acknowledged that he needs to bring in new strikers this summer, but I suspect that more positions will be strengthened this summer.
This summer will be a big one for Chelsea. Veterans Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry are all out of contract this summer. It seems certain that Terry will sign a new contract at the Bridge, but the other two face an uncertain future. Cameroon international striker Samuel Eto’o is out of contract and also faces an uncertain future at the club.
It also seems that the exits of Eto’o’s fellow strikers Fernando Torres and Demba Ba are almost inevitable this summer. Neither has found the net on a regular basis this season, although Ba has scored some vital goals of late, both strikers look to be surplus to requirements for Mourinho.
The biggest exit from the club though could be star Belgium winger Eden Hazard. The 23-year-old won Young Player of the Year and is highly-rated. He recently angered his boss by seemingly criticising his tactics in the Champions League semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid.
Big-spending French club PSG have been heavily linked with a move for the talented star. There has even been speculation that PSG could do a swap deal involving Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani. I really would not rule out Hazard leaving the Blues this summer.
The Blues look favourites to sign Atletico Madrid’s Spanish international striker Diego Costa. The Brazilian-born striker helped Atletico Madrid to defeat Chelsea in the Champions League and could now be on his way to Stamford Bridge.
I would suggest that this season has been a relative success for Mourinho and his team. The Portuguese boss will have learnt a lot from his first season back at Stamford Bridge and the team did need re-invigorating.
This summer the Blues are likely to strengthen their squad with players that fit into Mourinho’s style and way of thinking. It certainly would not surprise me if Chelsea claimed the Premier League title next season.
Mourinho has not lost his managerial ability, as he has proved in difficult games against fellow title contenders. Chelsea may well finish third this season, but you can guarantee that they will come back a far better team next season.
Has this been a successful season for Chelsea?