The festive season is firmly among us as Advent calendars begin their obesity-inducing countdown to Christmas. One third of the season has elapsed and the Premier League table is now taking shape.
Chelsea have asserted their lead at the top having dropped only six points thus far and the smart money points to a walkover as bookmakers offer odds as narrow as 1-7 (at the time of writing) for Jose Mourinho to lift the Premier League title aloft come May.
Astute Transfer Business
The Blues, as a matter of opinion, have regularly come under fire during the Roman Abramovich era for their lavish spending. Yet this summer, Mourinho deserves huge praise for closing excellent high-end transfer deals — the kind which Harry Redknapp can only dream of.
It has proved to be a masterstroke that the West Londoners agreed a world record sum (for a defender) to sell David Luiz and astutely reinvested the funds to acquire two of La Liga’s finest stars in Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa.
The remarkable pair have already set the Premier League alight with Costa jostling with Sergio Aguero for the Premier League’s Golden Boot while Fabregas tops the assists charts with 10 in 13 matches.
The Blues’ mission in December
Mourinho will see December as a window of opportunity. With top spot already secured in their Champions League group, their final match (against Sporting Lisbon) will be nothing more than a formality. Therefore the Portuguese’s side can hunt down the title with a calculated and dogged intent during the festive season.
With seven rounds of Premier League matches commencing from Tuesday evening through to New Years’ Day, teams have 21 points to play for. Those currently near the bottom could see in the New Year with raised expectations while perceived big guns Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Everton could kiss their Champions League aspirations goodbye if their respective stuttering campaigns continue.
Chelsea could reinforce their iron grip on the title and their seven-game block begins and ends with their fierce London rivals Spurs — commencing at Stamford Bridge this Wednesday evening. Newcastle United, Hull, Stoke City, West Ham United and Southampton make up the remaining five games at a time when Mourinho will demand total focus.
A clean sweep may be optimistic but it is far from unrealistic. Given their formidable start, it is not unfathomable that Chelsea could have amassed over half a century of points by New Years Day.
In doing so, they could then prioritise the arguably greater prize — the Champions League. A second triumph for the Londoners would propel Mourinho firmly among the all-time greats by being the first manager to win the European Cup / Champions League with three different clubs.