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Chelsea looking strong at the back

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Jose Mourinho looks to be building a team based on defensive stability after a dull 0-0 result at Old Trafford kept the Blues on top of the Premier League table. 

The first big clash of the season was a disappointment to most, and it seems Mourinho is once-again forming his team's spine, starting at the back. 

For those who watched Chelsea last season, it was a team with superb attacking talent who lacked the defensive structure capable of making the opposition work hard for their chances.

But, after last night's game, Chelsea look to be improving in defence and Mourinho is already favouring a particular back four.

Robin Van Persie was the Premier League's top marksman last season, however the Dutch striker had little opportunity to threaten the Chelsea goal last night. Wayne Rooney played well but was reduced to long-range shots.

Danny Welbeck spurned the best chances that came United's way, but the opportunities were few and far between in a fixture that seemed to show a lack of desire to win.

Perhaps people have forgotten how Jose Mourinho won back-to-back titles in his first stint as Chelsea manager.

The clue to the direction of the match came in Mourinho's pre-match interview when he offered his reason's for not playing a recognised striker and said "we may not win but we cannot lose".

This philosophy was prominent in the Portuguese coach's first spell in the Premier League and with John Terry producing a man of the match performance alongside the ever-improving Gary Cahill, Chelsea looked stronger at the back than they have in two seasons at Old Trafford. 

Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic started again to form the four defensive players Mourinho will use week-in week-out, so where does this leave David Luiz?

The Brazilian centre back is a hit with the Stamford Bridge faithful but he is still suffering from a hamstring injury after playing a vital role in Brazil's impressive Confederations Cup triumph in the summer, as well as being linked with a move abroad after Barcelona showed more interest in the defender. 

Terry will inevitably sustain more injuries as the season progresses and it would not be a surprise if Luiz battles his way into the starting line-up or even the defensive midfield position. 

Chelsea conceded 35 league goals last season and 46 the season before. With such a young side at his disposal, Mourinho looks to be supporting his attacking talent with a spine of no-nonsense players who can intervene in opposition counter attacks and defend set-pieces. 

Under 'The Special One', it's inevitable that Chelsea will be solid at the back, but after settling for a point at Old Trafford without playing a recognised striker, the Blues must find the flair and skill that Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata flaunted on so many occasions last campaign, in order to challenge for the title.  

Chelsea's 'spine' under Mourinho 2004/5: Petr Cech, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, William Gallas, Claude Makelele, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba. 

Potential Chelsea 'spine' 2013/14: Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Oscar.

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Topics:
Premier League
Football
Chelsea

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