In my previous report on Chelsea FC’s start to the 2014/15 season, I had written about the excellent performances of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa as being the key to Chelsea’s early season success. Come November, a typically poor time for the Blues, that still remains true. Despite missing games with his hamstring problems and illness, Diego Costa has banged in 10 goals in his first 9 matches for the club, including the game winner last weekend at Anfield.
The forward has been prolific, and truly looks to be the star striker Chelsea has needed since the Champions League winning season of 2011/12. His link up play with fellow Spanish international Fabregas has continued to be excellent, and moreover Costa has been working hard all over the pitch for Chelsea.
In the Champions League the Blues have been inconsistent. They trounced NK Maribor 6-0 at home, then drew 1-1 away. They are in a good position to qualify for the next round, but the matches away to Schalke and the final group stage match at Stamford Bridge against Sporting Lisbon could still provide some trouble.
Chelsea sit on top of the Premier League four points clear of surprising 2nd place Southampton and eight points clear of Manchester City, the team most likely to compete with Chelsea for the league. This gap is beneficial to Chelsea’s title chances, especially considering away matches to United, City, Liverpool and Everton are already done.
Best starting XI:
Best Performer So Far: Diego Costa. Costa’s 10 goals in 9 matches is a blistering pace, and Chelsea supporters are just hoping he can keep the injuries limited and help lead them to the title. However, Nemanja Matic gets a good shout as well, his play in central midfield has been stellar, operating as a midfield ‘destroyer’ to compliment Fabregas’ attacking prowess.
Most Improved Player: Oscar. The 23-year-old Brazilian has shaken off a disappointing end to last season and even more disappointing end to his World Cup campaign to be a star for Chelsea. His strong performances have earned himself a new five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
Injury News: The Blues have had a few injuries this season, notably to Costa. The Spaniard has missed a couple games due to injury, but seemed healthy against Liverpool. Fabregas also played at Anfield with a hamstring injury, but thankfully both will get the international break to heal after being withdrawn from the Spanish squad.
Positions to be addressed in the transfer market: Personally I don’t see any grave concerns that need to be addressed in the window. I believe Chelsea did some excellent business in the summer transfer market, and that this is the team to deliver a title to Stamford Bridge.
Managerial Grade: A-. Jose Mourinho has been his usual self, injecting emotion into his team and adjusting to poor performances. He’s still arguably the best manager in world soccer.
Weaknesses: There are still occasional defensive lapses that annoy supporters and risk dropping points. Against United and City away, specifically, the Blues left four extra points in Manchester (although the referee in the United match didn’t help the matter).
Rating: 4/5 stars. Had the Blues killed off either the Manchester City match at the Etihad with a man advantage, or the United match at Old Trafford I would have given the team 4.5 out of 5. The draw away to Maribor brings Chelsea down half a point as well, in my mind. Yet overall, the Blues look to be the best team England has to offer, and the remainder of the season should be brilliant to watch for Chelsea supporters.
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