After making it through a difficult and busy December, Chelsea ended 2013 with a Premier League title challenge still very much possible. Equally as pleasing to owner Roman Abramovich and manager Jose Mourinho will be that Chelsea made it through a tricky UEFA Champions’ League group stage, and will face Turkish side Galatasaray in the first knockout stage.
With 49 points from 22 Premier League games so far this season, Chelsea sit in third place in the table, just two points behind leaders Arsenal. After the return of club-favourite Jose Mourinho as manager last summer, Chelsea fans had more than enough reason to be optimistic about the future. Mourinho is an experienced and proven winner as a manager, having led Chelsea to the 2004/05 and 2005/06 Premier League titles. He also led Inter Milan to victory in the biggest club competition of all, the UEFA Champions’ League, in 2010. With this experience and a hugely talented squad, many believe that Chelsea are in the running to bring home trophies this season.
With just a two-point gap between themselves and the top of the Premier League, and a very winnable Champions’ League knockout stage draw, fans could be forgiven for expecting big things of their team this season. Some key games during the run-in will be Chelsea’s visit to the Etihad to take on Manchester City on 3rd February, and current-leaders Arsenal’s trip to Stamford Bridge on 22nd March. If Chelsea can take points in both these games, the Premier League title could well be theirs to lose, and 11/4 currently looks a tempting price. As the season goes on, up to date Premier League odds will be available at sports.coral.co.uk/football.
Due to the demanding schedule it takes to win numerous competitions, one thing that a successful team must have is squad-depth. Being able to rest key players and bring in capable players in the event of injury is what can set great teams apart from the rest. Chelsea have a hugely experienced and reliable ‘old guard’ in defender John Terry, goalkeeper Petr Cech, and midfielder Frank Lampard. The know-how of these players will be key in the final months of the season, however, they will need support from the younger players.
Chelsea have bought extremely talented young players recently, including attacking midfielders Eden Hazard and Oscar. Their flair and energy will be key in breaking down some of the excellent teams that Chelsea will have to overcome in order to challenge for both competitions. One thing is for sure, if Mourinho can get the perfect blend of youthful enthusiasm and skill, and experienced know-how, it would take a lot to stop Chelsea.