England was buzzing in the summer of 2013; it was not an aftershock of the London Olympics that had been held the previous year, and neither was it a result of the birth of the world’s first Royal Baby. (Forget about Royal Baby 2.0 that just graced us with her long awaited arrival). It was the return of the Special One, Jose Mourinho, that had the whole country and the whole footballing world excited.
He chose not to brand himself the special one, but rather ‘The Happy One.’ It was his return to the club that first captured his heart, and would leave him no room for long term happiness at another club. After his rather unceremonious first exit, a return by him would be a dream come true for Chelsea fans as it would put an end to a level of mediocrity experienced by them since he left. And at first, it seemed as if he would live up to the expectations. However, little did they know what awaited them; how could they have anticipated Manuel Pellegrini’s arrival along with his 111 million Euro expenditure on game changing players such as Fernandinho? How, even in their wildest dreams, would they have anticipated a Liverpool resurgence inspired by the ruthlessness of Luis Suarez? If you told a Chelsea fan that they would finish third right after the return of Jose, they would slap and force you to spit out those ungodly words.
But it happened as so; Mourinho’s side finished third and it started looking like he was the ‘ordinary but slightly above average’ one. Having been written off at the start of the season, Mourinho made a number of good signings which include the return of Nemanja Matic to the club as well as the long awaited return of Cesc Fabregas to the EPL; after which he kept quiet and awaited.
What followed in the 9 months to come was an ultimate show of teamwork, resilience, stubbornness (to other teams at least) and ruthless consistency. There was no standout player in the team, but rather a standout team in the league. Well, sure Diego Costa got the props for his goal scoring exploits and Fabregas got the recognition for his uncanny ability to provide assists, but the whole team was a well-oiled machine. Thibaut Courtois was excellent in goal, John Terry had an exceptionally good season in defence, Nemanja Matic…good God Matic, what did they feed you in Benfica!
I will boldly declare that he was the best defensive midfielder in the whole league; save your opinions, Yaya Toure stans.
Am I declaring that Mourinho’s return is what assured Chelsea of the title? Certainly not. He wasn’t the guy filling up each position out there on the field (shout out to versatile players like Sergio Ramos and Leighton Baines though!). But he definitely catalyzed it; he put together an excellent team and he continued to showcase his excellence in strategy. Some say that he knows the profile of each and every opponent player, down to the reserves.
Some call them boring Chelsea; but you know what’s boring? Coming anything close to first, because even Second place is the first in a line of losers.
(This is the opinion of an Arsenal fan, by the way)
Congratulations to Chelsea!
By: Doug L Fresh
Writer and Poet; has an obsession with Outkast.