Nine games in to the 2010/11 Premier League season and Chelsea have opened up a five point lead at the top of the Premier League. Gameweek nine always promised to be a prosperous one for Chelsea with title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal going head-to-head, but Arsenal’s victory was the perfect result for Carlo Ancelotti’s side who have now some breathing space.
The pre-season favourites have had nothing short of a superb start to the season. While they suffered a blip in their visit to Eastlands, their general performances have suggested that they could quite easily stroll to their forth Premier League crown.
What has made Chelsea so effective since Ancelotti took over has been their ability to cruise past the lesser sides in the league. Under the irrepressible Jose Mourinho this was considered the norm, but under the likes of Luiz Felipe Scolari so often they dropped points in games that they really should have cruised through.
But ever since Ancelotti took over the helm at Stamford Bridge, comfortable wins against the so called ‘weaker sides’ has been almost guaranteed. So much so that nobody could have really expected anything less than a comfortable Chelsea win over Wolves at the weekend.
This is no disrespect to Mick McCarthy’s side, and is just a frank assessment of where Chelsea stand in relation to other sides this season. They are a cut above everybody, and this includes the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United.
A five point lead after nine games is a massive gap, and in many ways I can only see this getting bigger as the rest of the Premier League struggle to cope with Chelsea much superior first eleven. However one saving grace for the rest of the league challengers could be if injuries hit the Blues.
In comparison with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea just don’t have the same strength in depth, and if injuries hit, it won’t be long before Ancelotti is forced to turn to untested youngsters. This fact is quite unbelievable when you consider the depth of the Chelsea side five years ago, but is hardy surprising considering the lack of incoming transfers, compared to the amount of players that have been shown the exit door at Stamford Bridge.
But if Chelsea can survive the season without an injury crisis, I can’t see anything other than a one-horse race. I hope I’m wrong because we all like to see the title going down to the wire, but unfortunately the Blues are just too strong for the rest of the league.