Jose Mourinho guided Chelsea to their fourth Premier League Title and the third under his management with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. The victory means that they cannot now be caught, even in the unlikely event of losing their last three matches.
Success in the Premiership has always been something of a poisoned chalice with the media seemingly divided on whether to acclaim Mourinho?s side or detract from its achievement. In recent weeks, Chelsea have been without leading striker Diego Costa and, to a large extent, his natural replacement Loic Remy. This has certainly influenced Mourinho?s strategy as the side has ground out one-goal victories.
The Portuguese is a master tactician and has been prepared to settle for a point if it is deemed to his side?s advantage. This was certainly the case at Arsenal recently in a dour 0-0 draw and the Blues were also accused of negativity when drawing 1-1 with Manchester City earlier in the season. What the critics fail to understand is that Mourinho approaches the season as a drawn out war where every battle can influence the final outcome.
In forty league matches against his big four rivals, Chelsea have only been beaten on three occasions under Mourinho. That includes Arsene Wenger?s Arsenal who have failed to beat the Blues under Mourinho in ten attempts. He has also made Stamford Bridge into a fortress with only the controversial defeat by Sunderland blighting his record.
Chelsea have suffered only two league defeats this season, at Newcastle and Tottenham. The 5-3 defeat at White Hart Lane allowed Manchester City to draw level with them for the first time this season on New Year?s Day. The lessons from that defeat at White Hart Lane were very quickly learned and they enjoyed revenge in the final of the League Cup to gain their first silverware of the season.
A shock exit at the hands of Bradford City in the FA Cup could be put down to a sub-standard line-up but their exit to PSG in the Champions League was a disappointment. Their strategy of defending a narrow lead has paid off in the latter stages of the Premiership but they sat back against ten men that night and paid the highest price. The Champions League will again be a priority next season, a trophy that Mourinho has won twice but not yet with Chelsea.
This Chelsea team built on the progress of 2013-14 with the signings of Fabregas, Costa and Matic being key to their success. This summer will almost certainly see the departure of Cech and Drogba and it would not be a surprise to see another striker added to the squad. Manchester City failed to strengthen their squad after winning the title last season, Mourinho is unlikely to make the same mistake.