Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 4th 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, May 4, 2015
LONDON---The five-year drought is over. Chelsea
is Premier League champion again --- with three
games to spare.
Chelsea s players danced around the field after
securing the title with a scrappy 1-0 victory over
Crystal Palace yesterday that encapsulated the recent
cautious pragmatism of Jose Mourinho s team.
"Today was not a game to enjoy," Mourinho said.
"Today was the game to finish the job."
But it was a trophy that was really won in the
opening months of the season, with Chelsea having
been atop the standings from the opening week.
With only two losses in 35 games, Chelsea was rarely
troubled in its pursuit of a fourth league title in 11
seasons --- and the fifth in its 110-year history.
"This is unbelievable, we ve worked so hard this
year to get over the line," captain John Terry said as
the blue and white streamers descended on the Stam-
ford Bridge field. "Today was a tough match, a little
bit nervous, but we got over the line."
Fittingly, the title-winning goal came from Eden
Hazard, a week after the Belgium winger s dynamic,
individual displays were honored by his fellow pro-
fessionals with the player of the year award.
Although Hazard s uncharacteristically weak penalty
kick was saved by Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni
at the end of the first half, the Belgian headed in the
rebound for his 14th league goal of the season.
The victory was enough to establish an insur-
mountable 13-point lead and dethrone Manchester
City, which has now failed in both its title defenses
since 2012 despite heavy investment from its Abu
Dhabi ownership. Chelsea is 16 points ahead of Arse-
nal, which has five games left to play.
"We showed absolutely everything since day one,
everything football demands from a team," Mourinho
said. "We had fantastic attacking football, we had
fantastic domination ... we defended amazingly well."
The team also won the League Cup in March and
Mourinho s third Premier League title success confirms
that the Portuguese coach is back at the pinnacle of
management in England.
Chelsea had only won the topflight once in its first
century --- in 1955 --- when Mourinho delivered the
Premier League title a decade ago after the club s
fortunes were transformed following the 2003 takeover
by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Mourinho defended the title in 2006 before losing
a power struggle with Abramovich the following year
and going off to win titles for Inter Milan and Real
Madrid before being welcomed back to Stamford
Bridge in 2013.
During Mourinho s six year-absence, Chelsea won
the league only once in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti
and the Portuguese manager returned to a Chelsea
with the club s finances now constrained by UEFA
Financial Fair Play rules.
"When you go back to a place where you had suc-
cess before, you risk a little bit your prestige and
history," Mourinho said after a winning a 22nd career
title. "But I won again and now I can say I won titles
for Chelsea with two different generations. ... A new
Chelsea has spent around $340 million on players
in the last two years, but around $250 million was
recouped by outgoing transfers. And perhaps the
most significant addition was Diego Costa, who was
brought in to bolster the strike force.
The $52-million striker s 19 league goals between
August and March propelled Chelsea to the summit.
His recent absence with a recurrence of hamstring
problems has coincided with the team losing some
of its early-season swagger.
Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, recruited
from Barcelona last year, has also faded in the second
half of the season but his assists in the first half of
the campaign provided the impetus for the title
At the bedrock of the triumph has been Chelsea s
5-year drought ends as
Chelsea is champion
sturdy defense, which has conceded a league-low
The back four has been anchored commandingly
by Terry, the 34-year-old center back who has enjoyed
a late-career revival under Mourinho and stifled the
Palace attacks in a nervy conclusion on Sunday.
"One person said I couldn t play twice in a week.
He knows who he is," Terry said in a reference to
Rafa Benitez, a manager in the 2012-13 season. "I
have proved him wrong as I m still fighting."
Mourinho is also fighting against accusations that
Chelsea is boring despite seeing off any threat from
Arsenal and City while relying on 37-year-old striker
Didier Drogba up front recently.
The Ivorian has been in all four of Chelsea s Premier
League title-winning sides after a spell abroad between
the third and fourth triumphs.
"This one is sweet," Drogba said. "With or without
me, Chelsea will always be No 1."
Chelsea players celebrate after the English Premier League match against
Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in London, yesterday. Chelsea won the match
1-0 to secure Premier League title with 3 games to spare. AP PHOTO
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