Four days after the Syrian army withdraws from Lebanon, former being stationed for 29 years, Chelsea wins its second Premier league title ever. A 2 – 0 win over Bolton thanks to two superbly taken goals by, none other than the English maestro (at the time), Frank Lampard. The team under the blissful guidance of Mourinho went on to snap up the EPL title the season after as well.
The Chelsea of 2004/2005/2006. The team of the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. The team that was carefully assembled by the management in a manner similar to one completing a Jigsaw puzzle. Comprising of star athletes such as Eidur Gudjohnsen, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben, Claude Makelele and the list could go on and on. That was the Chelsea of 2004/05.
Enter 2011, the year of natural disasters and uprisings. Sort of what’s happening from a Chelsea fans perspective. The year in which the arrival of a new manager for a staggering price tag of €15 Million, was supposed to revitalize the club. And indeed it did. André Villas-Boas who enjoyed success similar to that of Mourinho while being a manager at Porto, brought along a distinct notion which was identified by the clubs elite supporters all across the world.
A belief structured around this strange connection between the managers of Porto and winning the EPL title. The manager was placed with high expectations both by the management as well as the media, as soon as he signed those papers. He has since shown his capabilities both on the field with what we have seen (excluding the horrible onslaught from Arsenal) as well as at a decision making level. The Russian oligarch without any hesitation has accepted his say in disposing and acquiring players, the same amount of authority which was given to Mourinho.
One could also sniff a change in the overall structure of the team. Now the concentration was in young blood at Stamford Bridge which was quite evident with the arrival of Juan Mata, Romeu, Lukaku among Sturridge, McEachren & Luiz.
Chelsea that was once quite known for bringing in athletes in their aged prime, was shifting away to an ideology that is being practiced by their city rivals Arsenal. An ideology of getting them young.
Has this shift helped the London based club that heavily relied in the capabilities of Drogba, Anelka, Lampard, Terry, for a long time?
Yes. If you had the opportunity to watch the team play lately, you could see the difference. Sturridge tears up the defense at every chance he gets. Ramires & Romeu are work horses which makes it easier for Lampard to do what he does best – provide sublime passes. Mata, the Spanish midfielder needs no justification on what he brings to this Chelsea team. A flair similar to that which was once seen in Joe Cole.
Do not get me wrong here as I am not discounting the effectiveness of the older players. Drogba’s goal against Newcastle just showed what experience can get you. He was completely out of the game until he showed that one moment of brilliance with that head of his. And his performance against Valencia last night, was commendable. It can only come with experience and we all know that.
However, we can see the club that is Chelsea being chiseled, into a beautiful display of teamwork with the dead wood being disposed off slowly.
This has been a year of celebration for the fans that have long been lobbying for this change to come through. And hopefully this is the year where we see the Syrians do what is right for it’s people.