Chelsea’s goalless draw at the Emirates on Sunday saw them move within touching distance of their first Premier League title since 2010 as they maintained their 10-point advantage at the top of the table.
With only two wins now required from their final five games, Jose Mourinho’s side knew that a point against Arsenal would all-but seal the championship for his team, and there was no surprise to see the Blues nullify the Gunner’s threat so efficiently to ensure they got just that.
It’s something that the Chelsea boss has become accustomed to during his managerial career, with the ability to ensure his side can shut out opponents so effectively a superb trait he has installed in his players once again.
Yet he and his Chelsea side have come under fire following their latest performance, with plenty of criticism thrown their way in the aftermath of the Emirates clash. They’ve been labelled boring, called dull and referred to as a side that simply went and parked the bus, meaning we were left with a less entertaining game than the one we had hoped for.
But so what? Do you think they care? Not a bit!
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And why should they when they’re 10 points clear. There’s certainly nothing boring about being champions.
With 65 goals to their name, only Manchester City have scored more, which straight away dispels the myth that they are a boring team. Along with Southampton they have the best defensive record in the league and while the Saints have been praised for such an achievement, Chelsea are criticised over it. And why? It’s simple; because they continue to win.
While the likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have excelled in attack, the Blues have been equally impressive at the back, something which has become the platform for their success.
Some of the league’s top sides have been blasted over their inability to defend at times this season, and rightly so. But when Chelsea do it properly with the type of master class they produced against Arsenal, this also seems to cause a problem with plenty of people which is quite ridiculous.
Chelsea have shown the type of solidity at times in big matches similar to that used so effectively by Spanish side Atletico Madrid over the past few seasons, a trait that has won so many admirers, particularly in England. So what’s the difference with the Blues? Is there one?
Mourinho’s primary aim at the beginning of the season was to win the Premier League. And heading into their clash with Arsenal had every right to set his team up to ensure they didn’t lose the game. Any manager in his position would have surely done the same. The thing that sets his side apart from the rest however, is that they are probably the only ones good enough to pull it off.
People continue to suggest his side simply turned up and parked the bus as if it was that easy to stop an Arsenal side that had won eight on the bounce before the weekend, something that does Chelsea’s defenders a huge miss-service.
As the home side and the team that needed to win, the impetus was firmly on Arsenal, but despite having plenty of the ball; they never had the look of a team that desperately wanted to or needed to win. And it’s clear they lacked the quality and creativity to break down a resolute Chelsea defence.
For a side that apparently came with the intention of playing for a nil-nil draw it was quite a surprise to see they actually registered more shots on target than the home team, and were it not for a couple of dubious penalty decisions they would have deservedly won the match. Not to mention they created the best chance of the game in the first half which Ramires failed to convert.
Much of the anger towards Chelsea is surely just jealousy based from fans who would love their side to be in the same position as the men from Stamford Bridge. Let’s not kid ourselves; had the Gunners travelled to Stamford Bridge with a 10-point advantage and played out a nil-nil draw to seal the title everyone would be praising Arsene Wenger and his team for a job well done. There’s no disputing that.
Chelsea had earned the right to celebrate a draw at the Emirates and the wave of criticism that has come their way is a bit bizarre to say they the least. You can label them boring all you want but it won’t change the fact that they will finish the season as deserving champions.
How Mourinho sets his side out to achieve this is up to him, it’s what he is paid to do. The Chelsea fans don’t care as they look down on their rivals and nor will the players when they parade the trophy around Stamford Bridge in a couple of weeks time. Let’s be honest; every team would love to be in that position right now.
They’ve achieved what they set out to do back in August and that is all that matters. Deserved winners and certainly not boring!