Chelsea clinched the EPL title yesterday with three games left when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0. I have to admit, I don’t like how Chelsea plays the game. The “park the bus” counterattacking is not something I’m excited about when I wake up in the morning to watch them play. Chelsea plays a rather defensive game that requires efficiency in holding back and striking when the time is right. It may not be appealing to the eyes, but it’s effective and that style of play propelled Chelsea to become deserved EPL champions this season.
Chelsea was the only team in the EPL that didn’t struggle at any point in the season. They didn’t lose at home this season and only lost to Newcastle and Tottenham. The other 19 teams struggled at various points throughout the season. Manchester City is in 2nd place and they have been inconsistent since January. That should tell you the nature of the season if Man City can maintain 2nd after losing four of their last nine games.
In addition, Chelsea didn’t have to mortgage their future to win the EPL. Chelsea has been winning while restraining spending and is setting themselves up for future stability. In Jose Mourinho’s first tenure as Chelsea manager, Chelsea was spending like any big team did at that time. At one point, Chelsea didn’t bother selling anyone and all they did was spend, spend, spend. In one season, Chelsea had a deficit of £92.1 million in transfers.
Now that there’s Financial Fair Play, Mourinho is focused on cutting costs and operating the transfer budget like a business. He ships out his young players (who aren’t playing) on loan to give them experience and keep the wage bills low. In this EPL winning season, Chelsea spent £108.6 million and brought in £112.8 million for a £4.2 million profit. Yeah, they found a team dumb enough to pay £40 million on David Luiz but that’s not Chelsea’s fault. If someone is waving that kind of money in your face, you would be stupid not to take that deal.
Mourinho has also said that he’s not planning on spending much for players this summer. Why should he? Mourinho already has a great team and there aren’t too many looking to leave so he can keep what he has and make everyone else catch up to them. Then next summer, Mourinho can use that money he saved by not spending as well as the additional TV revenue money teams expect to get, Chelsea can get just about anyone and stay within Financial Fair Play rules. This may be the scariest aspect facing the other 19 teams.
Say what you want about Chelsea, but this is a team that is winning and is setting themselves up for the long haul. If you were to ask Chelsea fans today if they like Chelsea’s playing style or not, you may get varying opinions. The one thing Chelsea fans will universally agree on today is that it doesn’t matter how the team plays as long as they have the trophy. And if you were to ask fans of other teams if they would rather have a team that is exciting and loses or boring and wins, most will take the most boring team possible for that trophy.