Chelsea deserved title favourites while Manchester United lag behind

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Jose Mourinho tends not to leave things up to chance. So it is no surprise to see him ripping out the heart of his Chelsea side that fell so desperately short last season and is replacing it with a new lean mean machine that could drive them to their first league title in four years.

The way in which the Blues collapsed last season was particularly un-Mourinho like. In too many key games they were short of ideas against lesser opponents, something which prompted key man Eden Hazard to speak out and suggest he was being relied on to do too much.


There was also a lack of leadership on the pitch which prompted them to list towards the end of games, and meant they were unable to show the character that is usually engrained in Mourinho's teams. So he has gone about his business in the transfer market quickly to remedy both of those problems. 

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Chelsea's three strikers famously failed to fire last season which left them chronically short of goals, but the additions of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas will solve that, and Didier Drogba emerging from the bench late on is likely to frighten even the most hardened Premier League defender.


The Ivorian will also provide some much-needed leadership, especially with Frank Lampard and Ashly Cole out of the picture.

Of course his plan hasn't been without it's controversy - selling fan favourites in Juan Mata and David Luiz was always likely to raise a few eyebrows - but it is impossible to deny that he has been clever in selling players he doesn't fancy for huge fees which has allowed him to get those he wants without UEFA breathing down his neck and complete his team as he sees fit.


Mourinho's previous Chelsea team at their best were a machine that could bully teams off the pitch with power and a relentless will to win. They didn't have that last season but they certainly look better set up to do that this time round. Indeed, it is hard to isolate an area where they are particularly weak - perhaps they need some better back-up options at full-back but as things stand they will start the season with the strongest, and most complete, starting XI in the Premier League. 

Two seasons into Mourinho's second spell at Stamford Bridge and things are taking shape nicely.

Manchester United

Things are also looking up at Manchester United after a promising pre-season under Louis van Gaal, but to label them title contenders would be churlish, and even detrimental to their cause. There was always likely to be a bounce when Van Gaal turned up - both because of his forceful personality and because the club's fans were desperate to believe in anything and anyone after the doomed David Moyes era.

For all his charisma and tactical nous, the Dutchman has only managed to remain at a club for any length of time in the Eredivisie; every other to job he has taken on, he has come and gone in three years or less. There is a reason for that, and while he may seem a breath of fresh air for now, his act could wear thin if results go against them.

For now he is in a good place, although the fact there is only two new faces at Old Trafford at the moment is a worry. Instead of the title, Van Gaal and Manchester United fans should be aiming for a top four spot. A glance at Chelsea will show how far away they are from being the finished article.

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