Chelsea secured a huge victory for the club this weekend when they beat Liverpool, 2-0, at Anfield. Although it will probably not be enough to give Chelsea a chance at winning the Premier League this year, this victory has even greater significance for the Blues, especially in terms of their future.
The win on Sunday was the last piece in a pile of mounting evidence that, come August, Chelsea will once again be the team to watch in the Premier League title race.
It is hard to believe that it is still Jose Mourinho's first season back at Chelsea. When Mourinho first arrived back at Stamford Bridge, he inherited a squad that was more of a pool of untapped potential than a Championship-winning team. Sure, they had won the Europa League, but as the man himself was quick to point out, this was not the type of trophy that Chelsea should be going after.
Mourinho did what he could in the transfer market, bringing in a temporary solution for their striker problem—Samuel Eto'o—and two more creative players in Andre Schurrle and Willian. However, for the most part, this was Mourinho forced to make the most of the squad that he had, with the players that he inherited.
It was not long until the team started to become his own. Many people questioned some of his decisions—such as dropping star man Juan Mata and building the team around Oscar, or paying £22 million to bring back Nemanja Matic in January—but most of them paid off as Chelsea continued to fight at the top of the table, and in the Champions League.
Now, we have just two games left of the Premier League season, and it is time to take stock of just what Chelsea are capable of.
Yes, technically, Chelsea are still in the title race. Should the stars align and both Liverpool and Manchester City drop points, Chelsea will be there to claim the prize. However, at this point, Champions League qualification—and perhaps another Champions League trophy—is a far more likely prospect.
However, the result against Liverpool shows the true strength and depth of this Chelsea team. While technically fielding a "second team" on Sunday, the Blues still managed to pull out a huge win, away, against the top-placed team, in the middle of a Champions League semifinal tie.
This win also completes, for Chelsea, an impressive record that speaks volumes about their quality and potential. It is their record against the other members of the top four, as it stands currently (Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal). Chelsea have a total of 16 points against these teams, which means that they only dropped points once, against Arsenal.
While Chelsea may have struggled in some matches against lesser opponents, their record against the big clubs this season shows just how dangerous they are. And winning these matches is the difficult part, figuring out the rest is nothing more than a matter of time. If they can buy a new striker in the summer transfer window to help them break down the more defensive teams, there will be few who can stop them on the way to the top of the Premier League for the 2014/15 season.
This record also shows just how important Mourinho is to the club. When they need to pull out a victory over top opposition, Mourinho has the tools and tactics to do so.
Chelsea will finish this season with, at worst, another Champions League semifinal under their belts, and at best another trophy. Once they put that money to good use this summer, Chelsea will surely be unstoppable come next May.
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