Chelsea go into their game this weekend with an impressive record of being unbeaten in the first eleven games of the season and will be hoping to emulate the invincibles of Arsenal.
Chelsea have won nine of their first eleven games and only dropping points to both sides in Manchester where they probably should have claimed all six points. Chelsea were strong last year in Jose Mourinho's return to the Premier League but this year they have come back even stronger.
Chelsea only managed to finish third behind Manchester City and Liverpool last season despite looking like the best side in the country. Slip ups at Sunderland, Aston Villa, Norwich and especially Crystal Palace late on in the title race meant the Premier League title was not coming to Stamford Bridge for the fourth time in their history.
However, despite not winning the title this was just Jose Mourinho laying down his marker and basically telling his team, "Third, WILL do better next time!" Oh and how they have improved even this early on in the season especially compared to their previous rivals. Manchester City may lie in 3rd but are sluggish in the Premier League, struggling in the Champions League and have been dumped out of the League Cup despite being the current holders.
As for the red side of Merseyside, they still look to be struggling with the effects of last seasons dramatic yet draining end to the season. Liverpool are currently 11th in the league and struggling without the SAS strike force of Suarez and Sturridge.
Chelsea came up against Liverpool in their last game and Liverpool took the lead through Emre Can they never looked in the game against the Blues. Chelsea and Liverpool were at similar crossroads this summer in terms of recruitment, Chelsea recruited strongly but Liverpool did not recruit as well as their London rivals.
Chelsea went out and bought the goal machine who rivalled Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the La Liga goalscoring charts, Diego Costa. Chelsea also bought possibly one of the best central midfielders in Cesc Fabregas. The artistry that Fabregas has brought to the Chelsea side has made Diego Costa so prolific this season and tormenting many defences.
Chelsea also bought astutely in building their squad and developing the depth. Chelsea recruited the seasoned legend Didier Drogba, up and coming left back Filipe Luis and too an extent Thibaut Courtois returning from becoming a La Liga champion with Athletico Madrid.
Chelsea seem to be a year older and a year stronger with the likes of Oscar, Eden Hazard and César Azpilicueta impressing every time they take to the field. However, whereas Chelsea improved their starting eleven impressively Liverpool have struggled to deal with the loss of Luis Suarez just like Tottenham did when they lost Gareth Bale for such a hefty fee.
Chelsea have been so impressive and a lot of their success has been down to the incredible attacking prowess but the one man who has stood out is the man Chelsea sold but then bought back in the January transfer window for £21 million. This seems like a cheap investment for such impressive defensive midfield displays, that man is Nemanja Matic. Matic has taken the plaudits from Jose Mourinho pretty much every game. ‘Please give him what he deserves,’ Mourinho stated.
‘He was signed in the most difficult market for players (January) so the second half of last season was a space of improvement and adaptation for him. At this moment, he’s a giant. Not for his size but for the way he plays. The man is a giant.’
Matic is the player who can go unnoticed but is the man to hold the shape when others press and Fabregas looks to pick the lock of the opposition's defence. Matic is as strong as an ox, as wily as a fox and is just an all round athlete. Teams, however, under estimate his attacking ability but they do that at their own peril as he can carry the ball with incredible ease but more than that he can produce a shot that would be more at home coming out of a Desert Eagle gun.
Matic is key to how Chelsea play and this has be reiterated by left back César Azpilicueta: ‘Everyone has their place in the team and knows what it is,’. The whole squad know we have to fight together. Some players have more talent, some score goals, and sometimes we have to defend for them. But the main thing is we do it all as a team'
‘Nemanja said that if we wanted to be champions we had to win. If that is the target – to be champions – then you have to come to these sort of stadiums and get a result. He said would be really hard but we have to do a great job – and we have to win.’
Back to the main question, can anybody stop Chelsea? The answer at this stage is no. As long as Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal falter the more Chelsea will progress. There is obviously the threat from Everton, Southampton and several other teams trying to break the traditional "top four" but with Chelsea playing the way they are, the Blues could end the season unbeaten bettering their 2004-2005 season. Jose Mourinho and his ego would not let people forget that!
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