Chelsea's Super Cup Performance Outlines Their Worth to the Premier League

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2013

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 30:  Philipp Lahm of Bayern Munich is marshalled by Frank Lampard and Oscar of Chelsea during the UEFA Super Cup between Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at Stadion Eden on August 30, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Petr Cech said it himself in the Evening Standard this week: "It has been really important for the Premier League that we went all the way in Europe for the last two years but I don’t think we got the credit we deserved [...] It means we should be considered a good thing for the English game."

Indeed, Chelsea perhaps haven't received the plaudits their European success should bring, although on the back of their performance in the Super Cup against Bayern Munich in Prague, perhaps the Blues will now.

Though to many spectators the Super Cup is nothing much more than a jumped-up friendly, but try telling that to the Bayern fans who celebrated victory over the Blues on penalties like it was Wembley all over again.

In fact, tell that to the swarm of Chelsea supporters who traveled thousands of miles to Czech Republic only to see their team have victory snatched away in the dying seconds of extra time.

Lifting the Super Cup gave Pep Guardiola's side a little redemption since having lost the 2012 Champions League final against Chelsea—coincidentally on penalties—and perhaps more importantly ensures the former Barcelona manager has got his career in Germany off to a flyer, claiming a major trophy early into his tenure.

Where Chelsea are concerned, this game has wider implications for English football.

At a time when much of the talk is of a Spain-Germany monopoly on the back of last year's Champions League, Jose Mourinho's side has shown English teams are more than capable of matching their continental opponents.

They may have been on the losing side, but the Blues' players demonstrated the qualities that English football is known for, battling for every inch, while utilizing the vast talents of Eden Hazard to provide a creative threat of their own.

Having took the lead after eight minutes from a wonderful Fernando Torres strike (watch in the video below), Chelsea weathered a Bayern storm and had moments of dominance themselves, hitting the crossbar and forcing Manuel Neuer into making a number of fine saves.

Franck Ribery scored a fine goal himself shortly after the interval to draw Bayern level, yet Chelsea's heads never dropped and they forced their way back into contention, despite Ramires receiving a red card in the second half.

Hazard put the 10-man Blues 2-1 ahead in extra time, and it seemed enough to secure a famous victory only for Javi Martinez to score with virtually the last kick of the game, taking the match to penalties.

"The best team clearly lost," Mourinho commented in the press conference after (via BBC Sport). "They just scored one more penalty."

True, it was just a single penalty that eventually separated the teams, although the Chelsea manager's analysis is somewhat biased.

The stats and balance of play show Bayern edged it and that was to be expected. They're European champions after all and, while they have a new manager themselves in the form of Guardiola, Die Roten are also a team ready to embark on success. Chelsea are not quite there yet.

The difference in Prague's Eden Arena wasn't talent, it was experience. And that's where the Premier League's other European contenders find themselves right now.

For instance, Bayern's final penalty taker was Xherdan Shaqiri, Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku. The latter saw his spot-kick saved, gifting the Germans the Super Cup in the process as the shootout finished 5-4.

The difference in age between the pair is almost two years. In experience, it is far more considerable with Bayern's Swiss midfielder having over 100 club appearances to his name for Basel and Die Roten, not to mention years as a seasoned Champions League campaigner.

Whereas Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are rebuilding alongside Chelsea right now, plotting a future European assault, the major sides from Germany and Spain are benefiting from their own transition.

The point is, while the Premier League may be behind La Liga and the Bundesliga at present, the Super Cup has shown us the gap isn't as big as many would have us think.

Chelsea are in much better health than in 2012-13 and with them, so is English football.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes