Short of a footballing miracle, Liverpool never really looked to getting the better of Chelsea during Saturday’s clash at Anfield.
It can be argued that Gary Cahill’s blatant hand-ball should have awarded them the opportunity to draw level via the penalty spot, but on the whole they were sub-par. Although the scoreline remained a respectable 2-1, there was never any doubt which side was the more dominant force; Liverpool were just another head on the chopping block for an axe that Jose Mourinho has made lethally sharp.
Following a summer of masterful tinkering The Special One looks to have polished the deficiencies off of Chelsea’s otherwise pristine body, and with the first half of the season rapidly drawing to a close, Mourinho’s men have already overcome arguably the most difficult tests they will face en route to potentially reclaiming the Premier League title.
For when Blues fans snatched their first glimpse at the schedule for this year’s season they would have been forgiven for wincing at the pre-Christmas hand they had been dealt. Away trips to Goodison Park, The Etihad, Old Trafford and Anfield all loomed large, foreboding a baptism of fire which had the ability to throw an early spanner into Mourinho’s plans.
Yet from those fixtures Chelsea have picked up an impressive eight points, with draws away at Manchester City and Manchester United coming virtue of the home sides scoring late equalisers. Throw a home victory against Arsenal into the mix and it’s fair to say the current league leaders have every reason to be optimistic concerning their recent record.
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Already the talk of matching Arsenal’s immortalised ‘Invincibles’ is rife, with the media quick to push the fact that 27 games remain between now and the end of the season to one side, in order to fuel the hyperbolic predictions of the neutral masses.
Yet while comparing Diego Costa and Co. to the Thierry Henry-inspired machine that steamrolled the league during the 2003/04 season might be going too far, Arsene Wenger’s claim that the Blues could win over 105 points isn’t all that blinkered.
A glimpse at Chelsea’s spine details man for man one of the most formidable setups English football has seen in recent times, and the surplus of quality at Mourinho’s disposal means that his bench is never short of game-changers if and when the situation arises.
The likes of Thibaut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry and Nemanja Matic are all imposing figures at the back, whilst we’ve yet to see a defence which looks capable of keeping an attacking unit consisting of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Diego Costa at bay for 90 minutes.
In a perfect world the Blues would be able to claim as many as 110 points come the end of the season - that’s if they were to win every single game left. Of course we don’t live in a perfect world, and there are going to be days where Mourinho’s men just don’t turn up at the races.
But if they can grind out results when things aren’t going swimmingly then there’s every reason they can at least match the record they set when they finished on 95 points during the 2004/05 season. If they continue to nonchalantly cast aside challenges like the one they faced at Anfield on Saturday, they’ll set a new record without too much hassle.
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