Chelsea plan on emulating Arsenal’s invincible.
Crystal Palace manager, Neil Warnock, has made the patronizing claim to Jose Mourinho ahead of their face-off in the League this weekend that the Portuguese could lead his Chelsea side to emulate what only Arsene Wenger has been able to achieve in the history of English Football (at least, for over a century)…
…Go an entire season unbeaten en route winning the title.
Chelsea’s last defeat in the past 15 league games actually was at the same Selhurst Park which they visit on Saturday and having not lost a game this season, they are expected come away from that fixture with all three points, barring “a super-human effort” from Warnock’s men. Without doubt, Chelsea appear the strongest team this season in the League, with the addition of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas making all the difference at these early stages of the season.
But then, does that make them champions already by October?
Even if many believe they will walk to the title come May, will they really make it through unscathed?
The first temptation will be to compare Mourinho’s squad today with Wenger’s Invincibles 11 years ago. Indeed, there are some similarities in the type of players in each position, but the class of ’04 was unarguably a class above the Stamford Bridge class today. Jens Lehmann was in his first season then, as is Thibaut Courtois today; Diego Costa announced himself to the world just last summer but Henry was already King. Where Chelsea have Matic today (who is quite a beast), Patrick Viera was a nightmare even to Roy Keane in those days. Cesc Fabreagas would be the first to shield in the shadow of Denis Bergkamp, while Pires and Ljunberg’s dynamics on the wings have scarcely been matched by any duo since.
Arsenal’s approach to games at the time was obviously much more positive in those days than Mourinho’s counter attacking football of today, where he plays like Stoke for 80 minutes and hopes to bang on the break. There is also the feeling at present that the Chelsea attack is heavily reliant on Diego Costa, with no real replacement for him, Loic Remy being as good as you could get with Demba Ba or 67-year old, Samuel Eto’o. It is a fact that no one player can always stay fit all season long. Times of drought will come when it will be uneasy for them to turn on the styles as they’ve so far done well this season.
They are yet to go to Stoke on a cold Wednesday night, and with their defence not showing any signs of emulating Mourinho’s team of 2005/2006 – the closest yet to imitate the Invincibles with just one defeat – they are still within range of conceding more than could score on a given Matchday.
8 games against Liverpool, United, City, Arsenal, Tottenham are still to come for Chelsea to lose in, and just like last season, it could even begin at Selhurst Park this afternoon.
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