Jose Mourinho's Chelsea look as strong as ever

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After the failures of last season, Jose Mourinho wasn't considered worthy of the 'Special One' tag he once gave himself. Now, with his impressive squad assembled, he could have the last laugh.

Chelsea completed what turned out to be an extremely comfortable opening 3-1 win over Burnley on Monday night, despite going behind early to a Scott Arfield stunner.

After that strike, the Blues completely dominated, showing the true strength, skill and pace that this team possesses. The new summer signings certainly gave Chelsea fans plenty of excitement.

New signings impressed

Cesc Fabregas showed just what the Premier League has been missing for the past three seasons, showing his superb array of vision, passing and ability to dictate play. His assist for Andre Schurrle's goal in particular was a piece of genius.

Diego Costa also impressed, scoring Chelsea's first and perhaps being unfortunate not to win a penalty when Burnley 'keeper Tom Heaton clipped him inside the penalty area. Costa, to his dismay, was booked for diving instead.

His debut goal showed just how important he is to the side after the frustrating failures of last season's striking trio of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba. In addition, the return of club legend Didier Drogba will only help the former Atletico Madrid man adapt to the high demands of the Premier League.

Thibaut Courtois looked as commendable and dominant as he had been during his breakthrough seasons at Atletico. Mourinho's decision to drop Petr Cech for the Belgian suggests that the former's days at the club could be numbered. Not that there is any shame to be dropped for a keeper of Courtois' calibre, however, who displayed his superb talent with a fine save to deny Arfield early in the second half.

And with Felipe Luis, seen by many as the best left-back in Europe last season, to come into the fold, Chelsea's claim to a fourth Premier League crown has surely grown even stronger.

Existing talent

Nevertheless, it is not only the summer additions that make Chelsea the driving force they are bound to be this season.

The contributions that Nemanja Matic - re-signed from Benfica in January - makes in midfield will be imperative to the Blues' chances this campaign. His ability to break up play and stop the opposition from settling into a flowing rhythm has seen him gain many admirers over the past six months.

The progress of Fabregas will almost certainly depend on Matic's form and fitness throughout the season. He allows the Spaniard to dictate attacking play while controlling the defensive duties in the middle of the park at the same time. 

And yet with all of Chelsea's attacking flair, it is surely the defensive solidarity of duo Gary Cahill and captain John Terry that Mourinho will look to for inspiration in the coming months.

The England pair were crucial last season, with Chelsea only conceding 27 goals in the league - ten goals better off than the next best team, champions Manchester City. If the 2012 Champions League winners can repeat the defensive form they showed last season, added with the goals of Costa and co, they will be very hard to stop.


The importance of the likes of Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Oscar and Willian should not be underestimated either. Their creativity and pace in behind teams should be the perfect foil for the likes of Fabregas, who loves picking out defence-splitting passes, as he so often showed throughout his successful time at Arsenal.

Schurrle, often underrated, surprised many with his displays last season and could turn out to be a key player for the Blues this time out after his goals helped the club press on with their title push in his debut campaign. 

And what of the boss? Many may argue that Mourinho did not have his preferred team last season, with two failed bids for Manchester United's Wayne Rooney meaning that he lacked the world-class striker he was craving to push Chelsea's title challenge over the line.

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It turned out to be costly, as uncharacteristic defeats at Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and at home to Sunderland meant that Manchester City stole the title away on the final day.

Now Mourinho has Costa, and despite the added pressure that could come his way this season, there is a feeling that he won't make the same mistakes again.

It's should to be another thrilling title race, with Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool as well as Chelsea all desperate to come out on top.

But with the hugely impressive squad at his disposal this campaign, Mourinho - who wanted to be known as the 'Happy One' when he returned to the Blues - could be the one smiling most by May 24.

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