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Can Chelsea retain their title as Premier League champions for the fifth time following their slow start to the season?
The annual Community Shield match on August 2nd saw the 2014/15 champions concede to Arsenal. This was the 14th time that the two teams came face to face in the Community Shield arena, and the only time Arsenal came out trumps, breaking the 13-match record that stood between them.
Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City
Chelsea’s prospects for the Premier League don’t look much brighter after their first official match of the season on August 8th against Swansea City, where they finished with an underwhelming 2-2 draw. The match was football entertainment at its best, seeing a strong free kick from Chelsea’s Oscar, a red card against Thibaut Courtois, an own goal from Swansea’s Federico Fernandez and Chelsea’s goal from Bafetimbi Gomis ruled offside.
Though Swansea failed to capitalize on their 11-man advantage in the last half hour against Chelsea, they put on a strong show against the title defenders. Swansea City came in eighth last season but manager Garry Monk’s decision to buy four new players, including scorer Andre Ayew, this summer was clearly the right one.
Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea
Manchester City did nothing to assauage the despair of Chelsea’s fans by pulling a stunning three-goal victory over Chelsea on August 16th. Top striker Sergio Aguero proved his worth to Man City, pushing the team’s first goal past stand-in goalie Asmir Begovic after 30 minutes of strong attempts. The best to be mustered by Chelsea was one near-miss from Diego Costa in stoppage time. Despite this performance, Mourinho insisted that Chelsea were the better team of the second half, branding the score as a “fake result.”
Chelsea’s signing of former Monaco striker Radamel Falcao should, however, bode well for their performance this season. Despite reservations about his somewhat underwhelming four-goal performance for Manchester United, Captain John Terry wasted no time in backing Falcao’s addition to the team, describing the striker as a “top, top player.” Although Falcao has failed to turn things around so far, he may be yet to work his magic.
So what could these early results mean for Chelsea’s prospects this season?
Although it hasn’t been a great start so far for the Blues, it really is too soon to make an accurate prediction on the outcome of the whole tournament. Betting sites are in the business of getting punters to part with their money as soon as possible, but with over 30 matches to play, well-seasoned fans know that anything could happen between now and May 2016.
West Bromwich v Chelsea
Chelsea’s next fixture on August 23rd will see them face West Brom away. West Brom haven’t had a much better start to the League, with one loss and a draw behind them so far and Chelsea would usually be expected to walk away from that one fairly unscathed. However, given Chelsea’s performance up to this point and West Brom’s win of 3-0 in May, nothing is certain.
With the summer transfer deadline on the 1st of September, there’s still time for a few surprises and with only £355m clocked up in spending so far compared to last year’s £500m, it seems likely that we’ll see a few last minute changes creep in. Mourinho is rumoured to have made a second offer on Everton’s John Stones for £26m, so far rejected by Everton, suggesting he is looking to strengthen the squad’s back four.
The Chelsea boss has speculated that this season will see a much closer final, with far fewer than the eight points that made Chelsea victorious last year deciding the 2015/16 title. The Chelsea manager puts this down to the growing strength of smaller teams, like Stoke City, Watford and now Swansea City, taking points from the league’s main contenders.
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