Back in August, the Chelsea faithful had begun the Premier league campaign with a sense of hope and optimism over the club’s chances to end the five-year stretch without the Premier League trophy. Mourinho’s team started the season with demolishing the lower order teams and holding firm against the top five sides, even hinting at an ‘invincible’ season that couldn’t be, after the defeat against Newcastle on December 6th.
As the season progressed, while Manchester City stumbled in the month of March, the Stamford Bridge side with their pragmatic yet effective brand of football, went onto increase the lead at the top. If recent football history is to suggest anything, rarely has Jose Mourinho allowed his side to slip a lead after inducing a substantial point gap at the top of the table. In fact, Jose’s sides have won the league, every single time, with a margin of five or more points barring one season when Inter Milan beat AS Roma to the title by just two points.
Following is a break down of the current Chelsea campaign, that has won them the title ahead of their main rivals Manchester City and Arsenal.
August: The first signs of domination
Distancing his team from the title challenge in the previous campaign, Mourinho had compared his players with a little horsesa who required training and time, before they were ready to compete against the likes of City and Liverpool.
“The title race is between two horses and a little horse that needs milk and needs to learn how to jump. Maybe next season we can race.” – Mourinho
Compared to February 2014, in August, Chelsea’s ‘little horses’ looked like they have ‘matured’ as Mourinho’s team started the 2014-15 campaign fairly dominating their opponents on the field.. With the players more accustomed to Mourinho’s methods and with an influx of quality players like Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, the team found a new impetus, that allowed them to cut through oppositions with ease.
While Thibaut Courtois, having replaced Peter Chech, strongly contributed to an already steady defense, Costa and Fabregas were by far the key players behind the team’s surge. While Costa scored four goals in the opening three games, including a brace in a nine-goal thriller at Goodison Park that the blues won 6-3, Fabregas had four assists to his name.
Chelsea picked up three wins out of three and were leading the table ahead of Manchester City who had picked up six points out of their three games. Citya s loss to Stoke City at home was their biggest shock of the month. Arsenal on the other hand, had just one win in the opening three and drew the other two.
September: Mourinhoa s side strengthen the lead
With Champions League kick off in September, managers were forced into squad rotation. Although, rotating a squad with a depth like that of the squad at Chelsea, isn’t exactly difficult, Chelsea successfully maintained their position at the top of the table, picking up seven points out of nine. The 2 points dropped were against rivals Manchester City, who denied them a draw thanks to a late Frank Lampard equalizer.
Lampard scored the equaliser for Manchester City against Chelsea
Arsenal and City faced off as well and the game too ended in a stalemate. Citya s only win in that month came against Hull City. With just one draw in the opening six games, Chelsea had created a five-point lead between themselves and City.
Arsenal were fourth with 10 points. It has to be noted that the three sides were separated by Southampton who had a brilliant month and were second, just three behind Chelsea.
October: Manchester City still rusty
Despite playing a decent number of matches, Manuel Pellegrinia s team still struggled to find the consistency that they showed last season. Part of the problem was the leaking defense, as they managed to keep only their second clean sheet in seven games, after beating Aston Villa away from home. Thereafter, City dispatched Tottenham at home, but were shocked by West Ham United which meant that once again they picked up six out of nine points.
Chelsea, on the other hand, beat rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge before a hard fought win over Crystal Palace away from home. Mourinhoa s men should have made it three wins out of three but were denied by Robin Van Persiea s late equaliser against Manchester United which robbed them of a win. Arsenal were able to pick just one win out of three and dropped to fifth place.
November: Chelsea march on; remain unbeaten
By November, Chelsea’s dominance hinted at the possibility of an unbeaten, invincible season. Three wins out of four along with qualification into the second round of the UEFA Champions League set them up nicely for a busy period in December. Their squad hardly showed signs of letting the foot of the gas despite a goalless draw against Sunderland in late November.
Rivals Manchester City finally picked up their form after a derby win over Manchester United. City matched Chelseaa s points tally for November as they too picked up three wins out of four. Pellegrinia s men should have made it four out of four, but disappointed against relegation-threatened QPR away from home.
November was perhaps Arsenala s worst month in the League as they were beaten twice, successively. The losses meant that they slipped to sixth to the table, 13 points behind Chelsea. City moved ahead of Southampton to second at the end of the month.
December: Chelsea finally lose, Manchester City manage to close the gap
Chelsea started off December with a thumping win over Tottenham. However, they were brought down to earth with their first defeat of the season at St Jamesa Park against Newcastle United, ending the invincibility. A 2-1 defeat allowed Manchester City to close the gap as they beat Everton at home. Chelsea recovered and won their next three games without conceding. Southampton finally stopped their winning run with a 1-1 draw, but Manchester City couldna t take advantage of that as they too slipped at home to Burnley after taking a two goal lead.
The gap at the top was reduced to three points and the title race was back on. Arsenal on the other hand, picked up four wins out of six. They drew one and lost the other after an appalling first half showing against Stoke City. The gap between themselves and Chelsea stayed at 13, but the Gunners moved up to fifth.
January: Manchester City fail to keep up the pressure
After managing to close the gap to three, City topped the league for some time as they beat Sunderland on New Yeara s Day. Chelseaa s loss at the hands of Tottenham allowed their opponents to make it even at the top. However, with Yaya Toure departing for the Africa Cup of Nations, City were unable to maintain the lead at the top. Confidence shattering losses against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup and at home to Arsenal, meant City would again slip to the second spot.
Remy celebrates after giving Chelsea the lead against City
Chelsea recovered after their humiliating loss against Tottenham and picked up two wins and scored seven goals in the process. The game against Manchester City was an important one as avoiding a loss would have preserved their five-point lead at the top. Mourinhoa s side did so after putting in a compact display in front of their fans.
Arsenal had a mixed January as they were beaten by Southampton, but came back well to collect impressive wins over Stoke and Manchester City.
February: City remain within five points of Chelsea
The title race was starting to heat up, come February. City picked up seven out of nine points, the same tally as Chelsea. Both the sides had disappointing games against lower oppositions in the form of Hull City and Burnley.
Arsenal played their game in hand, and closed the gap to 12 which was previously 14. A loss against Tottenham was the only blemish in a decent month for the Gunners, in the League.
March: Chelsea pull ahead of Manchester City; Arsenal impress with winning run
March was the month when it all started falling apart for City. Two away defeats meant that they were now constantly looking behind them at pressure from Arsenal as the Gunners were slowly catching up after picking up four wins out of four, the only team among the three sides to do so in the whole season.
Chelsea were sound enough and picked up seven points out of nine. The lead at the top was six, but Chelsea had a game in hand
April: Chelsea close in on the title
If March was bad, April was even worse for Manchester City. Consecutive losses against Crystal Palace and Manchester United all but ended their lingering title hopes. The derby defeat in particular hurt the City fans more than anything else. The side got back to winning ways, but it was too late.
Chelsea held Arsenal to a draw at the Emirates
Chelsea picked up three wins in a row, including grinding out a 1-0 win over Manchester United, which set up a mouth-watering clash against Arsenal as the Gunners themselves had a late shot of winning the title after going on an eight-match winning run, the first time they have done so since the invincible season.
Chelsea and Mourinho, however, had other ideas. The Portuguese set his side up to not lose the game and it worked out as they held Arsenal to a draw and followed that up with a win over Leicester City that all but clinched the title.
May: Chelsea clinch the title after five years, with three games to spare
The game against Crystal Palace was the one where the banners, the T-shirts and the chants were ready. A win would have sealed the league and that is exactly what they did. An Eden Hazard penalty in the 45th minute proved to be the match winner. Mourinhoa s side had done a brilliant job of stifling favorable results against the top sides and beat the remaining teams with conviction. With three games to spare, the blues lifted the title.
Arsenal currently sit in third spot and could overtake Manchester City if they pick up four points out of the two games in hand.
Despite exiting the Champions League without losing a game, and the humiliating FA Cup defeat, the fans will be absolutely delighted with the double. After a season that was marred by a campaigna accusations and digs at certain pundits, the a Special Onea or the a Happy Onea , can afford a big smile on his face.