Twenty-five match weeks have evaporated, and we're still no closer to figuring out the Premier League's title race.
The Chelsea manager swore up and down his side weren’t title contenders—yet if he looks at the current standings, Jose Mourinho's in for a bit of a surprise considering his recent statements, as his side sit in first place after an Eden Hazard hat-trick bested Newcastle United 3-0 on Saturday.
The Portuguese's arguments go something like this: Manchester City have the best squad on paper. Arsenal have the advantage of managerial stability. Liverpool don’t play European football, as well as enjoying the hottest striking tandem this side of Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
It’s been a clever stratagem employed by Mourinho: Tell the media, Chelsea supporters and his players the title isn't theirs to win, thus relieving pressure on his club—it's a brilliant psychological tactic. Though amusingly enough, the more his team wins, the more downplaying title aspirations seems empty.
Were Mourinho’s side winning by flukes or poor refereeing decisions, one could argue the Chelsea boss has a point by deferring the title elsewhere. But, the brand of football being manufactured has certainly been title-worthy by the West Londoners.
The style of football Mourinho’s commissioning this season looks more suited to winning the Champions League than the Premier League. But as the other title contenders have slipped up domestically, Chelsea have been there to pick up the pieces.
It’s a testament to the Chelsea manager that his side are succeeding in a time of "evolution."
Take a peek at Manchester United and you’ll find the complete opposite. Last year’s champions by an 11-point margin are 15 points behind first place under the stewardship of David Moyes. Transitions aren’t simple, thus Chelsea sitting on top of the league after two-thirds of the season gone bodes well for the club’s future development.
So, will the Blues stay atop the BPL?
It would be presumptuous to announce anything so definitive considering the parity and the number of games left. But if the London outfit can play the style of football they’ve displayed this past week, it would take a courageous individual to bet against a Mourinho side in pole position with the final sprint yet to come.
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