By Walter Broeckx
With the sacking of Mourinho and as one of our readers linked to an article on the BBC below a previous article I thought it would be interesting to have a look at what some of their experts said at the start of the season.
Somewhere at the start of the season the BBC pundits predicted who would win the PL and who would be in the top 4 at the end of this season.
They even patted themselves on the back with linking to their predictions of the season before saying: 19 out of 29 BBC experts correctly backed them to win the title last year.
And those same experts plus one then decided that Chelsea would win it again. This season 22 out of the 30 experts tipped Chelsea to win back to back titles. Only one person out of the 30 experts said they would finish outside the top 2.
So one could say that 29 out of the 30 said that Chelsea would win it or would come second at least. The only one predicting Chelsea to finish third was Alistair Mann.
After 16 matches Chelsea sit in 16th position. Their natural habitat in the pre-Abramovitch era one could say.
But some experts also said why they thought that Chelsea would win it again. And, well, that makes some interesting reading now after 16 matches.
We had Alan Shearer saying: The title race will be a lot tighter and I am expecting the top four to be bunched together for most of the season.
But Chelsea are still the team to beat because of their experience and I also think they will be better than they were last year when Diego Costa was injured a lot last season and Cesc Fabregas did not play his best football from February onwards.
It also would not surprise me if they sign another big hitter before the transfer window shuts.
Well yes Alan, you was right about Mourinho signing another big hitter before the transfer window shuts. I remember the drooling when Pedro was announced. And when in his first match he made a sensational start the experts wetted their pants even more. But that was then…
Former Chelsea player Ruud Gullit said : I think they will buy another striker. We saw against Arsenal in the Community Shield that they might have a problem up front when Costa is unavailable. Jose Mourinho hopes Radamel Falcao is the answer but I did not see that at Wembley. I hope Falcao succeeds too, but I think Chelsea still need another powerful striker as back-up to Costa.
So having Costa, Falcao and Remy isn’t enough for Chelsea. Three players who at some point we should have bought according to those who claim to know anything about it. Chelsea have scored 18 goals in 16 matches. And that with those three strikers, Fabregas, Oscar, William and of course Eden Hazard at their disposal.
Another expert opinion could be found from BBC Radio 5 live football correspondent John Murray: Chelsea still have the best squad and certainly have the best defence.
Let us start with the best squad… One would think that if they would suffer a lot of injuries they wouldn’t even suffer. As they have the best squad. Well Chelsea only lost 47 match points in total according to the injury league table. For your information Arsenal lost 106 match points in their table. So with not even half the injuries Arsenal has suffered their squad surely isn’t as good as our dear correspondent was thinking it was.
And the best defence… Chelsea have let in 26 goals so far this season. And that is a number that comes close to the other teams in the relegation zone.
On to the next expert Pat Nevin: The manager makes a big difference too, of course. I think Mourinho will get more out of a number of his players this season, with Oscar being one of them.
Ouch. In the light of what the special one said himself this comment goes completely wrong. Pat, you are running a season behind I think. He did that last season but he usually can’t do it in his third season in charge. Well he sure will not do it anymore at Chelsea for the moment.
Former Chelsea player Graeme Le Saux said: You know Mourinho’s tactics will be spot on, even if the personnel changes. Nobody is a passenger in this Chelsea team, no matter who comes in, and reliability is one of the requirement of all his players. That consistency underpins everything they do, and on top of that they have got some amazingly creative players.
Drooling all over Mourinho one could say but well his tactics surely weren’t that spot on. They were reliable in stacking up the losses but I don’t think Le Saux was saying it like that. Consistent in their losses yes but again not what he meant to say I think. And yes they do have some amazing creative players in their team. But well the problem is that most of them are not allowed to be creative. Maybe some special person was holding them back forcing them to defend and defend…?
But some had seen some wrong things like Chris Sutton who said: Mourinho has to address Chelsea’s lack of creativity in the second half of last season but the fact remains he is an outstanding manager who always finds a way to win games.
Well spotted Chris about that second part of the season. The second part of your statement somehow seems way off target. But hey, can’t have it all.
And finally a word from BBC Radio 5 live’s senior football reporter Ian Dennis: Just as in 2005 and 2006 I’m tipping Mourinho to claim back-to-back titles with Chelsea. I think he will get the best out of Falcao but I expect Arsenal to push them close.
Yes Ian, the last sentence might be correct. I do expect Arsenal to push close to the title. But I somehow think it will not be that we will be pushing Chelsea in a title race. And getting the best out of Falcao? That sure didn’t work out as you predicted.
Now the problem is of course that with hindsight it is easy to make a bit of fun of the experts.
And in a way one can’t really blame them for their opinions. Chelsea had done all they said they should do over the years. Hire Mourinho as he is the special one. Spend truckloads of money on new players each and every season. And on top of that they had already the best squad of the whole PL the season before. So what could go wrong with predicting them to win it again?
Well what can go wrong is that the world is moving. It is not because team A won it that they will win it again.
The players are the best, the squad is the best, they have spent again and yet things have fallen apart. Surely it can’t be because of the special one….
What most experts are also missing is that other teams might work in the long way. A slow way in improving the team with adding a big player every now and then and we have done this 3 years in a row now with Özil, Alexis and Cech. And then add players from within like Coqueling and Bellerin and Campbell this season. But that is not making headlines of course and so goes under the radar of the experts. I think before his injury one could say that if Wenger wanted to sell Coquelin he would be worth around £25m-£30m already as he has one of the best stats as a defensive midfielder. Bellerin would be worth around £10m-£15m already as being one of the best right backs at his young age in the PL.
The way Wenger has worked in silence on building this team and blended them together with own youth players is not making headlines.
So the money spending model from Mourinho can work at times and of course it will always give you a big advantage if you can spend without having to look at the consequences. But it is no guarantee for success.
Just imagine if Arsenal would win the title this season after “not having bought an outfield player” as they proclaimed….. That sure should give them something to think about. But if they are capable of doing that is another question. Think I mean….
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