We’ve all been clinging onto the narrative for a few weeks now: there is a Premier League title race and it’s going to be an exciting end to the season.
Except, it’s been wishful thinking for the most part and when the history books chronicle this campaign it will be one of total and utter Chelsea dominance.
Premier League acolytes frequently lambast the Bundesliga and La Liga for how Bayern Munich and Real Madrid and Barcelona have run the rule in their respective countries, but, be honest, has anyone realistically looked like overtaking Chelsea at any stage?
There are still five games remaining and with Leicester, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, West Brom and Sunderland to come, everything suggests their 10-point advantage will be extended.
Chelsea are ten points clear. “Boring” or not, how are people even disputing that they’ve been the best team in the league???
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) April 26, 2015
Their last two matches – at home to Manchester United and yesterday against Arsenal at the Emirates – have been a microcosm of their season.
Two clean sheets and an Eden Hazard breakaway goal against United, securing four points and more importantly preventing either side from gaining ground of them.
Neither opponent has been good enough to break down a defence which, while excellent in the context of the Premier League, has not been totally impenetrable, as their Champions League campaign displayed.
Missing top scorer Diego Costa, who provided so many of the early-season fireworks, Jose Mourinho has reverted to what he does best: organisation.
That has been enough to combat the disorganisation over different stages of the season from Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Call them boring – as Arsenal fans jeered – call them painfully pragmatic or even a disgrace, given the hundreds of millions spent by Roman Abramovich, but the relative ease as which this title will be secured says as much about the failure of their rivals as it does their own alleged shortcomings.
City an ageing side lacking any inspiration against the elite sides, United (again) plagued by an indecisive and chaotic transfer window and a manager who is yet to fully get his ideas across, Liverpool unable to fill the void of losing their two best players from last season – one to Barcelona and the other to injury – and Arsenal hamstrung by the same old issues in the early part of the season.
Speak to fans of those clubs and while there may be playful barbs, the majority will retain a grudging respect for Chelsea at what they’ve achieved, simply because of how one-sided it’s been. And the concern must be that, providing Mourinho sticks around, this team will only get better.
The wealth of Abramovich means the slight gaps in their squad – a proper back-up to Costa and greater competition for Branislav Ivanovic at right-back – can be filled this summer with no departures, bar Petr Cech, really expected.
While, the age of this team means they are a few years short of their collective peak. Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Nemanja Matic, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eden Hazard, Kurt Zouma and Thibaut Courtois are all 27 and under, with the potential of the latter trio enough to suggest they can be among the very best in the world in their positions for the next 10 years.
The rest have got an awful lot of catching up to do.
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