Whisper it quietly, but Jose Mourinho is quietly going about his business in building Chelsea into the dominant force that they once were. Jose Mourinho has learnt from his time away from Chelsea, and has become slightly more humble than the brash Portuguese who first arrived on these shores. He certainly doesn’t get into nearly the same amount of confrontations with other managers as he used to. I feel as if this new calm Mourinho has helped him greatly in rebuilding this Chelsea squad.
Without hundreds of millions of pounds to spend this time round, Mourinho has had to quietly adapt. He has gone back to how he likes his teams to be set up, and what makes him comfortable. Mourinho likes his teams to be defensively strong, whilst also focusing on quick counter attacking football.
Chelsea have arguably the strongest defence in the Premier League, possibly only eclipsed by Arsenal’s. They have a very experienced keeper in Petr Cech, who has just surpassed the clubs clean sheet record, showing just how valuable he is to the team and the quality that he possesses. They have the two best English centre backs in Terry and Cahill, as well as arguably the best left back in the League in Ashley Cole, and the very dependable right back Branislav Ivanovic. They have conceded the least goals in the Premier League, joint with Arsenal’s and Everton’s defence, however Chelsea’s back five aren’t as prone to mistakes as the other two are, with Everton making a costly mistake against Sunderland, and Arsenal conceding six goals to Manchester City. Mourinho will know that defensive solidarity is the key to winning the title and although Manchester City are looking very good currently, I think Chelsea are the team to fear the most in the long run.
His home run has been impeccable whilst being Chelsea manager, and he is unbeaten as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge in 70 games. He has already set out great tactics against the top 7 teams in the Premier League, which have worked to great effect. He has set out his teams not to lose against any of the top 7 away from home, and so far he hasn’t. Whereas at home he sets his teams up to win, as can be seen with his results against Manchester City and Liverpool.
His counter attacking philosophy has made Chelsea a much quicker team in their transition from defence to attack, and it has benefited one player in particular, Eden Hazard. Hazard has really shone under Mourinho, and has been Mourinho’s main outlet in attack. His decision to drop Chelsea’s two time player of the year, Juan Mata, was very controversial, but Oscar has been brilliant so far this season and has justified his position in the team. Mourinho prefers him as he doesn’t lose the ball as much as Mata as well as the fact that he also tracks back once he loses the ball. One could argue that once Chelsea get a clinical striker, on balance they will have the strongest team in the Premier League, as Torres has severely dropped in standards over the past couple of years, and Samuel Eto’o just doesn’t have the quality to be the main striker in a winning Premier League team. They have been linked with both Diego Costa and Wayne Rooney, and either of them would significantly strengthen the side.
The next month will really show Chelsea’s title credentials. In the next few weeks they come up against both Manchester clubs, beginning with a visit from a wounded United side on Sunday, who will be looking to prove themselves, as well as a trip to the Etihad to play the irrepressible Manchester City. Whilst Mourinho’s team has been under-the-radar so far, they definitely have a strong chance of claiming the Premier League title, whilst he slowly builds a team that will be a dominant force for many years to come.