Manchester United’s three recent defeats and a distracting semi-final clash against rivals Man City, has turned what had looked a two-horse race into a four-way tussle for the Premier League.
A second consecutive title would see Ancelotti match Mourinho‘s achievement, though it’s still unlikely with 9 points the gap between Man Utd and Chelsea, despite the game in hand.
Whether or not their recent form is too little too late, 2010-11 has probably been a necessary season of transitional for Chelsea. Liverpool fans have gloated after the £50 million acquisition of Fernando Torres, about his failure to score in 4 starts and over 6 weeks as a Chelsea player. However, it’s been the two Brazilian signings from Benfica who’ve made the real difference and helped transform Chelsea back into the fast and constantly pressing defensive unit they used to be.
With them picking up points and confidence returning, the pressure on Torres to score immediately to keep Chelsea comfortably in the top four, has lessened. When confidence is flowing, Chelsea’s work-rate is superb. You’d struggle to find two more energetic and hard-working midfielders than Ramires and Essien, while Ivanovic and David Luiz’s pace and attacking instincts are excellent, considering they’re both central defenders.
If Bosingwa returns to his best, he and Cole on either wing would only add to what already looks a squad brimming with pace, power and movement, which Ancelotti can now pick from. Even the likes of Malouda and the fit again Lampard do cover a lot of mileage during the ninety minutes, considering both are now in their thirties.
Only upfront is the energy sometimes lacking; none of Torres, Drogba, Anelka or Sturridge can compare to Rooney or Tevez in terms of work-rate, though they all have very decent pace in short bursts.
Regardless of that, Chelsea probably have the most hard-working team in the whole league, thanks to those signings of Ramires and David Luiz. They will surely be a massive threat in next season’s title race and could even be favourites if Torres started playing as he was two seasons ago.