Chelsea Football Club have been crowned Premier League Champion’s after beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
In stark contrast to last season, when the title went to the final day of the season with both Liverpool and Manchester City contenders for the crown, there has been a feeling of formality in recent weeks as Chelsea have held the top spot since before Christmas.
They needed just 3 points from their remaining 4 games, and it looked like it might be a close run thing as Julian Speroni saved Eden Hazard’s penalty in the first half. But the PFA player of the year took no time in making up for his error, putting a header past the Argentine on the stroke of half-time.
The game was little more than a procession after that, with Palace testing but not pushing Chelsea and the Blues happy to soak up the pressure in the style that has become the hallmark of all Mourinho teams.
The Portuguese manager is a divisive figure outside of West London, with his antics over the years including gouging the eye of Tito Vilanova, calling Arsene Wenger a voyeur and disrespecting numerous club managers by trying to shake their hands before the final whistle.
The win at the Bridge, though, meant that this is Chelsea’s third title under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, and the Chelsea fans showed their loyalty and love towards him by displaying a banner saying ‘The Special One – He’s One Of Us’.
It is Mourinho’s eighth title in twelve years and, whatever else can be said about him, there’s little doubt he knows how to win. This season he’s built a team based around the wiser heads of players like John Terry and Didier Drogba, alongside exciting younger prospects such as Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.
BBC pundit Alan Shearer has backed Chelsea to win the title since August, and he said after the match that Mourinho is a “serial winner who lives for titles and trophies”.
He also feels that the “boring” tag Chelsea have been lumbered with in recent weeks is unfair. He said, “It is not Chelsea’s problem if teams cannot beat them, and it is pretty embarrassing if they call them boring”. Shearer feels the only tag that Chelsea deserve is that of “worthy champions”.
Shearer’s opinion seems to be backed up by facts, as only Chelsea in 2005-2006 and Manchester United in 1993-1994 have spent longer at the top of the league in a single Premier League campaign than this Chelsea team. In 2005-2006 they were top for 257 days, and United managed it for 262 days. This year Chelsea have been at the top for 253 days. Worthy champions indeed.
Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich was there to see his team clinch the title, and when referee Kevin Friend blew the final whistle he punched the air in celebration. Now it is his hope and desire that Chelsea go on to improve on this season’s double – they won the League Cup in March – by dominating Europe next season. Mourinho has won the Champion’s League with Porto and Inter Milan, but whether he can do it with Chelsea remains to be seen.