5 Keys to Success for Chelsea in 2014/15

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2014

5 Keys to Success for Chelsea in 2014/15

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Chelsea lived up to their billing as Premier League favourites on Monday night, putting in a polished performance against newly promoted Burnley to win 3-1.

    Everything Jose Mourinho had asked of his team, we saw—Cesc Fabregas controlled the midfield, his defenders maintained a solid back line and Diego Costa did his bit by scoring.

    It's too early to suggest it was a sign of things to come for Chelsea this season, but it was encouraging nonetheless.

    If Chelsea are to enjoy success in 2014/15, though, what will help get them there?

    Bleacher Report identifies some areas. 

Diego Costa's Goals

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    It sounds a simple observation to make, but Diego Costa's form is going to be a major factor in how successful Chelsea prove to be this season.

    The Spaniard got off to the perfect start to his Chelsea career by scoring on his Premier League debut and now he needs to continue that form.

    Chelsea lacked a predator in the box last season, and Jose Mourinho has pinned his hopes on Costa changing that.

    Costa's presence alone is going to strike fear into the opposition and with him firing in goals, points and victories will be forthcoming. 

Cesc Fabregas in Midfield

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Leading on from Diego Costa's goalscoring form, it is vital Cesc Fabregas remains fit and in good shape himself.

    With him playing alongside Nemanja Matic in the midfield pivot, Chelsea suddenly have the ability to control games in the way they didn't last season.

    Fabregas will keep the ball moving, linking defence and attack in much the same way he did against Burnley.

    It was no coincidence that he was involved in all three of Chelsea's goals, making the killer pass that set up Andre Schurrle's exquisite strike that put the Blues 2-1 up.

    After struggling to break teams down last term, Chelsea look more fluid, and Fabregas is going to be their talisman. 

Petr Cech Leaving

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    It rumbled on all summer, but now we have our answer—Thibaut Courtois is going to be Chelsea's No. 1 goalkeeper for the coming season.

    For a man of Petr Cech's quality, it is a bitter pill to swallow.

    The Czech stopper is still among the world's leading goalkeepers and knows he is more than capable of lining up for the Blues.

    In Courtois, though, Jose Mourinho sees Chelsea's future. The 22-year-old is ready to take the reins now.

    Where does it leave Cech?

    At the moment, on the bench.

    We understand enough about his character to know Cech isn't going to be causing problems for Mourinho, although the media scrutiny surrounding the decision to pick Courtois over him is going to intensify as the season progresses.

    Ideally Chelsea would keep Cech to strengthen their squad further. However, with him not playing, the focus on him could well prove negative.

    Every week Mourinho will be facing questions about Cech. If Courtois makes an error, will he be dropped for Cech?

    It will be endless.

    Besides, Chelsea have one too many overseas players in the squad and need to lose one before the transfer window closes. 

Early Success in the Champions League Group Stage

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    As ever, Jose Mourinho's ambitions this season will be to win everything.

    If he can, he wants to take the lot.

    The business end of the season is always vital, yet we shouldn't underestimate the value of maintaining good league form ahead of Christmas.

    It sets teams up for the fixture congestion that is inevitable heading into the new year and creates a good foundation.

    If Chelsea can negotiate their Champions League efficiently, it will help their path to success incredibly.

    Jose Mourinho can rest players in the closing matches, reducing the impact of midweek games in order to give some focus on the Premier League.

    What's more, a good group campaign will give Chelsea's confidence an injection and it will send out a message to the rest of Europe. 

A Prolonged Run in the Capital One Cup

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    Success for Chelsea this season isn't just about lifting silverware.

    How will Jose Mourinho continue to integrate the many talented youngsters he has at the club?

    To progress, the likes of Izzy Brown, Dominic Solanke and Lewis Baker need minutes. The ideal way to give them that is in the cup competitions.

    The Capital One Cup has given Mourinho success in the past, so he will continue to respect the competition by fielding strong teams.

    That won't mean him turning his back on the academy players who served him well in pre-season, however.

    If Chelsea enjoy a good run in the competition, it will give them a chance to experience high-level competition under the scrutiny of capacity stadia, with the media watching on.

    The longer Chelsea remain, the more opportunities they will get.

    Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes