Chelsea started the 2014/2015 season in a very superb manner, having drawn just two games in all competition. If they are to continue with this remarkable form, which will give them the chance of securing not just the Premier league but continental glory, they will need these five key players to be both injury free and on top of their game.
The incredible goalscoring form of former Atletico Madrid hitman since arriving at Stamford Bridge makes him impossible to leave off this list – Costa has, in one fell swoop, solved Chelsea’s two biggest issues from last season, a lack of a consistent striker and an inability to break down teams who sit deep and soak up pressure. While Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o all produced great games against important opponents, none could go out every week and score. This killed Chelsea against the smaller clubs, like Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Norwich and Aston Villa. Chelsea would have won the title if one of their strikers had scored four or five more goals than they did over the course of last season.
He has been a revelation for Chelsea this season. His ability to pick out players in the attacking third from his deep-lying playmaker role has been sensational for Chelsea so far. Oscar who picked up much of the chance creation duty last season, with Fabergas already creating and assisting many goals this season, will be freed up to look to finish off chances, helping Diego Costa out. The presence of Matic in central midfield has also allowed new signing Cesc Fabregas to really settle into life as a Chelsea player and flourish, with the Spaniard already bagging more assists this season than any Blue last season.
The Belgian winger Eden Hazard has been, by some considerable distance, Chelsea’s most potent and dangerous attacking threat, both in terms of creating and scoring goals. His speed has either forced fullbacks inside, opening up space for Azpilicueta or Ivanovic to make overlapping runs, or, if the fullbacks don’t come in, then center backs will be forced to come out, opening space for the central players, like Diego Costa, Oscar and Fabergas. Whilst the arrival of Fabregas and Costa has taken that pressure off somewhat, the Belgian is still crucial to Mourinho’s plans.
For all of Chelsea’s attacking prowess, it is arguably the destructive midfield presence of Nemanja Matic that makes the biggest difference for them. The Serbian can make a genuine case for being the finest defensive midfield player on the planet. He has been a beast in the holding midfield role for Chelsea. He makes sure that space isn’t left in front of the back line, and also anchors Chelsea’s attacks. His ability to run forward and make progressive moves, makes him nott be a strictly defensive player. His partnership with Cesc Fabergas has proved to be a key to Chelsea’s campaign. Fabergas creates from the back, and Matic picks up some of his defensive duties, lightening the load on Fabergas. If Matic and Fabergas continue to work well together, then Chelsea will have a great chance to win the Premier League.
Last season Cahill and John Terry built a solid partnership that made Chelsea the best defensive team in the league. Terry has been revitalized under Mourinho, becoming again one of the best defenders in the Premier League. However, time is beginning to wear down on him, and Cahill will have to progressively pick up more and more of the load, covering for Terry. This should be no worry for Chelsea fans, however; Cahill certainly could be the next “Captain, Leader, Legend.” He has the ability to score goals like Terry, and has physical strength like Terry. That said, if Cahill is weak, indecisive, and leaves holes in the defense in the season, it will only age Terry faster. And that will leave Mourinho with limited options, and a faulty backline. That makes Gary Cahill one of Chelsea’s most important players for next season.