With their victory over Crystal Palace this weekend, Chelsea FC have secured the Premier League title, their first in nearly five years. Having held the top spot in the Premier League since August 30, many Chelsea fans believe this may be their best squad ever. With that in mind, I took the time to compare this year’s squad to their past Premiership winners.
While this time period really encompasses two Premier League campaigns and two championships, it was effectively the same Chelsea team. After losing the title by a measly few points to Thierry Henry’s legendary Arsenal squad the year before, Jose Mourinho spent over $100 million to secure some Chelsea legends to chase the title. He brought in Didier Drogba from Olympique Marseille, as well as the Portuguese duo Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira from Porto to shore up the defense. Add that to a team that already had the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben, Petr Cech, Joe Cole, and William Gallas, and that Chelsea squad was extremely formidable. One of the best defensive squads in Premier League history, Chelsea set the record for fewest goals allowed in a season during their 2004-05 campaign.
With Mourinho gone to Inter Milan, new Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti had some big shoes to fill. Luckily, at the turn of the decade, he filled them. Ancelotti created one of the most impressive goal scoring duos in Premier League history, pairing up Didier Drogba with Nicolas Anelka, leading to simply amazing results. Drogba scored a ridiculous 29 goals in the league that season, which would have eclipsed this season’s league leader by a whopping eight goals. On the backs of their goal scoring dynamos, Chelsea won not only the Premier League, but also retained the FA Cup, winning the English Double for the first time in their history. Chelsea remain the last team in England to secure the Double, with fans of the Blues remembering fondly the 8-0 avalanche win over Wigan on the final day of the season to secure the Premier League title over Manchester United by just one point.
This season has been a dream for Chelsea fans since it began, with a league title never really coming into doubt. Player of the Year Eden Hazard has been superb all season at creating chances and while healthy, Diego Costa was the best in the EPL at finishing them. Additionally, veterans like John Terry and Didier Drogba have returned to their old forms, while others like Cesc Fabregas and Nemaja Matic have proven they never lost it. From start to finish, it has been a year to remember, with some young faces making new names for themselves and other old faces reminding fans just how good they can be. Put that against the backdrop of Mourinho’s magnificent mind games, and it’s no wonder that Chelsea has been atop the league since August 30. Chelsea have been a deserving squad throughout the year and England should feel proud of its newly crowned champion.
While this year’s Chelsea team has been the best in England, the title of best ever has to go to the 2009-10 squad. The English Double is something you don’t see everyday, in fact you almost never see it, and for Chelsea to accomplish that with their amazing goal scoring record is nothing short of amazing. Only three teams (Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United) have accomplished this feat in the Premier League era, making it one of the highest honors in English football and a worthy accomplishment for the best Chelsea team ever.